Abstract: The shelf life of pasteurized milk is generally determined through microbiological analysis. The objective of this study was to correlate microbial quality parameters then to design predictive models for shelf life of pasteurized milk. We analyzed pasteurized milk (3.9% fat) for aerobic plate counts (APCs), psychrotrophic bacteria counts (PBCs), and Bacillus spp. counts at 5, 7, 10, 13, 15, and 19 (±1 °C) to the end of storage time. We also monitored titratable acidity, pH, and, lipase, and protease activity and correlated this with APC, which is the principal index defining shelf life. Results indicate that the shelf life of pasteurized milk was 24, 36, and 72 h at 19, 15, and 13 °C respectively, as determined by APC and acidity indicators. However, milk stored at lower temperatures of 5, 7, and 10 °C had longer shelf life of 30, 24, and 12 d, respectively. A sharp increase in titratable acidity, while decrease pH were observed when APCs reached 5.0 log10 CFU/mL at all storage temperatures. Lipase and protease activities increased with storage temperature. At 5 and 7 °C, however, protease activity was very low. Therefore, we eliminated this parameter from our quality parameters as a potential spoilage indicator. Practical Application: Findings of this research are useful for monitoring the quality of commercial pasteurized milk, particularly in locations where environmental conditions make longer storage difficult. The study also provides valuable information for development of colorimetric shelf life indicators.
- Aerobic plate count
- kinetic models