International journal of food microbiology. vol:101 issue:3 pages:281-91
The inactivation of Escherichia coli MG1655 by high-pressure homogenisation (HPH) at pressures ranging from 100 to 300 MPa was studied in buffered suspensions adjusted to different relative viscosities (1.0, 1.3, 1.7, 2.7 and 4.9) with polyethylene glycol 6000 (PEG 6000). The water activity of these suspensions was not significantly affected by this high molecular weight solute. Bacterial inactivation was found to decrease with increasing viscosity of the suspensions, an effect that was more pronounced at higher pressures. To study the effect of water activity, series of E. coli suspensions having a different water activity (0.953-1.000) but the same relative viscosity (1.3, 1.7, 2.7 and 4.9) were made using PEG of different molecular weights (400, 600, 1000 and 6000), and subjected to HPH treatment. The results indicated that water activity does not influence inactivation. Finally, inactivation of E. coli MG1655 by HPH in skim milk, soy milk and strawberry-raspberry milk drink was found to be the same as in PEG containing buffer of the corresponding viscosity. These results identify fluid viscosity as a major environmental parameter affecting bacterial inactivation by HPH, as opposed to water activity and product composition, and should contribute to the development of HPH applications for the purpose of bacterial inactivation.