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21 May 2018

CTCPA intensifies its research in microbiology on the Thermoanaerobacterium group

The emergence, about ten years ago, of the bacterial group Thermoanaerobacterium involved in the alteration of canned food, represents a major new microbiological risk for manufacturers in this field who must be able to better control these species on food processing chains. Indeed, these species are :

  • Both mesophilic and thermophilic but also acidotolerant
  • Responsible for non-stabilities in 10 to 20% of cases identified by the CTCPA laboratory in Avignon (at 55°C and 37°C)

The EMaiRIT'S unit of the CTCPA carried out physiological studies concerning (i) growth parameters, (ii) sporulation capacity, (iii) heat resistance of Thm spores.

These analyses showed that the number of canned foods incubated at 55°C altered by Thm increased significantly, until reaching the same occurrence as Geobacillus and Moorella (25%). Alteration at 37°C also increased.

All food matrices are affected by this alteration caused by Thm. Thirteen different species of the genera Caldanaerobius, Thermoanaerobacterium and Thermoanaerobacter were detected by a molecular tool developed by CTCPA (SporeTraQ™).
Recommendations can be given to canners on the temperatures to avoid and the heat resistance of these species (conclusion of the collective project Caracther).

Microbial ecology work will be carried out in 2018 to identify the origin of contamination and critical points on lines.

Contact: Dr Stella Planchon, avignon@ctcpa.org