Identification of the dominant bacteria associated with the spoilage of UHT full cream milk

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Moloto, Phuti Gladys
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Vaal University of Technology
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations predict that milk production and the dairy sector will remain one of the fastest-growing agricultural subsectors over the coming decade. The global milk production is projected to expand over the 2011-2020 period at an annual rate of 2%. In South Africa alone, approximately 14 – 15 million litres of milk are wasted annually due to microbial spoilage. Therefore, the identification of the spoilage microorganisms in the milk products is necessary. This will contribute towards the design of appropriate measures to prevent wastage due to spoilage and in turn contribute towards sustainability of the sector. Accordingly, one hundred samples of spoiled full cream UHT milk were collected from two plants of each of the two largest milk processors. These samples were examined visually, and the pH was measured. A presumptive identification up to genus level was conducted by examining morphological features and conducting Gram-stain, catalase and oxidase tests. Species-specific identification was done by using the Analytical Profile Index and Biolog system. Molecular profiling was done by sequencing the rDNA genes. The main spoilage organisms identified in the samples were Pseudomonas, Micrococcus, Bacillus, Enterococcus and Lactobacillus. All organisms belonging to the five genera were psychrotrophs, which are commonly found in biofilms in UHT milk processing equipment. Therefore, according to the study, the spoilage bacteria apparently entered into the milk due to inadequate cleaning-in-place (CIP) processes. More importantly, further studies should be conducted in order to identify the spoilage microbes and how CIP processes can be improved.
M. Tech. (Biotechnology, Department of Biosciences, Faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences), Vaal University of Technology.
Spoilage of UHT full cream milk, Microorganism in milk products, Pseudomonas, Micrococcus, Bacillus, Enterococcus, Lactobacillus