Modeling of bacterial growth with shifts in temperature.

M.H. Zwietering, J.C. de Wit, H.G.A.M. Cuppers, K. van 't Riet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

122 Citations (Scopus)


The temperature of chilled foods is an important variable for the shelf life of a product in a production and distribution chain. To predict the number of organisms as a function of temperature and time, it is essential to model the growth as a function of temperature. The temperature is often not constant in various stages of distribution. The objective of this research was to determine the effect of shifts in temperature. The suitability and usefulness of several models to describe the growth of Lactobacillus plantarum with fluctuating temperatures was evaluated. It can be assumed that temperature shifts within the lag phase can be handled by adding relative parts of the lag time to be completed and that temperature shifts within the exponential phase result in no lag phase. With these assumptions, the kinetic behavior of temperature shift experiments was reasonably well predicted, and this hypothesis was accepted statistically in 73% of the cases. Only shifts of temperature around the minimum temperature for growth showed very large deviations from the model prediction. The best results were obtained with the assumption that a temperature shift (within the lag phase as well as within the exponential phase) results in an additional lag phase. This hypothesis was accepted statistically in 93% of the cases. The length of the additional lag phase is one-fourth of the lag time normally found at the temperature after the shift.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-213
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1994

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