oa Interim : Interdisciplinary Journal - Acid tolerance and organic acid susceptibility of selected food-borne pathogens

Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1684-498X



The development of tolerance to low pH levels and the existence of cross-resistance may promote survival of bacteria in acidic foodstuff and in acidic environments such as the human stomach, in so doing escalating the probability of food poisoning. Similar to antimicrobial resistance developing, there is growing concern that effectiveness of organic acids may decrease as a result of the emergence of acid-tolerant food-borne pathogens. The objectives of this study were to determine the development of acid tolerance in selected food-borne pathogenic bacteria and to explore the activity of organic acids against acid tolerant pathogens. Bacterial strains were screened for acid-tolerance and susceptible strains were induced through exposure to increasing concentrations of an inorganic acid, as well as acidic foodstuffs. Susceptibility to six organic acids at various pH levels was assessed in order to evaluate the possible relationship between altered antimicrobial activity and acid tolerance. Salmonella enterica sv. Enteritidis ATCC 13076 and Escherichia coli ATCC 25922 were found to rapidly develop acid tolerance, while intrinsic acid tolerance was noted in Salmonella enterica sv. Typhimurium ATCC 14028. Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 27853 demonstrated intermediate intrinsic acid tolerance. As expected, pH played a significant role in inhibitory activity of the organic acids as these compounds exhibit optimum antimicrobial activity at a lower pH (pH ≤5). It is, however, necessary to further elucidate the two-way role of pH in foodstuff concomitant to the addition of an organic acid.

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