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Charles Carpenter

Current research: Antimicrobial activity of organic acids and their anions

Listeria monocytogenes is pathogen of significant concern to the food industry, especially those industry segments producing ready-to-eat products such as processed meats and dairy products. This project will validate practical use of levulinate as an antilisterial additive for ready-to-eat meat products, and investigate the cellular mechanism(s) for the susceptibility of Listeria to levulinate and two other important organic acid anions, lactate and acetate.

Affiliated studies will validate the extent of decontamination and residual protection that results from topical application of levulinic acid to meat surfaces as compared to lactic and acetic acids. Studies of decontamination will compare the extent to which topical application of various organic acids kill pathogenic bacteria (Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella sp., and E. coli O157:H7) previously inoculated onto meat surfaces. Studies of residual antimicrobial activity will follow the growth of those pathogenic bacteria inoculated onto meat previously sprayed with the various wash solutions.

Thompson, R.L., Broadbent, J.R., Carpenter, C.E., Martini, S. 2008. Control of Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meats containing sodium levulinate, sodium lactate, or a combination of sodium lactate and sodium diacetate. J. Food Sci. 73, M239-244.

Carpenter, C.E., Broadbent, J.R. 2009. External concentration of organic acid anions and pH: Key independent variables for studying how organic acids inhibit growth of bacteria in mildly acidic foods. J. Food Sci. 74, R12-15.