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Bonke, R.; Drees, N. and Gareis, M. (2016): Detection of psychrophilic and psychrotolerant Clostridium spp. in chilled fresh vacuum-packed meat using different PCR methods. In: Fems Microbiology Letters, Vol. 363, No. 1, fnv218

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Since 1989, blown pack spoilage has been recognized as a special form of spoilage in vacuum-packed raw and cooked beef. However, only limited information concerning the occurrences of bacteria causing blown pack spoilage on chilled fresh meat is available. In this study, a total of 63 beef and 33 lamb commercially available samples from different countries and without any signs of spoilage were examined for contamination with psychrophilic and psychrotolerant Clostridium spp. using different PCR systems. In total, 34.4% of the chilled fresh vacuum-packed meats were PCR positive. A higher number of lamb samples were identified as PCR positive compared with beef. A geographical relationship between positive results and the origin of the samples could not be determined. PCR system described by Brightwell and Clemens (Development and validation of a real-time PCR assay specific for Clostridium estertheticum and C. estertheticum-like psychrotolerant bacteria. Meat Sci 2012;92: 697-703) gave the highest number of positive detections compared with the Broda, Boerema and Bell PCR system (PCR detection of psychrophilic Clostridium spp. causing 'blown pack' spoilage of vacuum-packed chilled meats. J Appl Microbiol 2003;94: 515-22). Eight clostridia isolates from two German beef and four Welsh lamb samples were isolated overall. Three of these clostridia isolates were identified as Clostridium estertheticum whereas five clostridia isolates remain unidentified. The study shows that psychrophilic and psychrotolerant Clostridium spp. are more prevalent in retail samples than previously suspected.

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