Effect of Nisin on the Outgrowth of Clostridium botulinum Spores


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Nisin, an antibiotic produced by certain strains of Streptococcus lactis, is effective in preventing the outgrowth of Clostridium botulinum spores. Type A C. botulinum spores were the most resistant to the inhibitory action of nisin requiring 1000‐2000 I.U. of nisin/ml for a 50% inhibition of outgrowth on TPYG agar plates. Type E spores were more sensitive requiring only 50‐100 I.U./ml for 50% inhibition of outgrowth on TPYG agar plates. Type B spores displayed an intermediate level of sensitivity requiring 500‐1000 I.U. of nisin/ml for 50% inhibition of outgrowth on TPYG agar plates. Similar levels of nisin were necessary to prevent spore outgrowth in TPYG broth and BHI broth over a 7‐day incubation period. With prolonged incubation periods of up to 65 days in TPYG broth, spore outgrowth was observed sporadically at higher nisin levels with the type A and B spores which may indicate some decomposition of nisin with storage. Nisin levels of 5000 I.U./ml for the type A spores and 2000 I.U./ml for the type B spores and the Minnesota E spores were insufficient to prevent spore outgrowth by C. botulinurn in cooked meat medium. For the Beluga E spores, a nisin level of 2000 I.U./ml was necessary to prevent spore outgrowth in cooked meat medium. The need for higher levels of nisin in cooked medium to prevent spore outgrowth may be due to the binding of the nisin by meat particles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-126
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of food science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1981


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science

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