TitleIsolation and identification of spoilage microorganisms using food-based media combined with rDNA sequencing: ranch dressing as a model food.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsWaite, JG, Jones, JM, Yousef, AE
JournalFood Microbiol
Date Published2009 May
KeywordsColony Count, Microbial, Consumer Product Safety, Culture Media, Dairy Products, DNA, Bacterial, DNA, Ribosomal, Food Contamination, Food Handling, Food Microbiology, Food Preservation, Humans, Lactobacillus brevis, Pediococcus, Time Factors, Torulaspora

Investigating microbial spoilage of food is hampered by the lack of suitable growth media and protocols to characterize the causative agents. Microbial spoilage of salad dressing is sporadic and relatively unpredictable, thus processors struggle to develop strategies to minimize or prevent spoilage of this product. The objectives of this study were to (i) induce and characterize spoilage events in ranch-style dressing as a model food, and (ii) isolate and identify the causative microorganisms using traditional and food-based media, coupled with rDNA sequence analysis. Ranch dressing (pH 4.4) was prepared and stored at 25 degrees C for 14 d and microbial populations were recovered on MRS agar and ranch dressing agar (RDA), a newly formulated food-based medium. When isolates suspected as the spoilage agents were inoculated into ranch dressing and held at 25 degrees C for 9-10 d, three unique spoilage events were characterized. Using rDNA sequence comparisons, spoilage organisms were identified as Lactobacillus brevis, Pediococcus acidilactici, and Torulaspora delbrueckii. P. acidilactici produced flat-sour spoilage, whereas Lb. brevis resulted in product acidification and moderate gas production. The RDA medium allowed for optimum recovery of the excessive gas-producing spoilage yeast, T. delbrueckii. The isolation and identification strategy utilized in this work should assist in the characterization of spoilage organisms in other food systems.

Alternate JournalFood Microbiol.
PubMed ID19269562