• The Prevalence and Control of Bacillus and Related Spore-Forming Bacteria in the Dairy Industry

      Gopal, Nidhi; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Beresford, Tom; Fenelon, Mark; Cotter, Paul D.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Irish Dairy Levy Research Trust (Frontiers Media S. A., 21/12/2015)
      Milk produced in udder cells is sterile but due to its high nutrient content, it can be a good growth substrate for contaminating bacteria. The quality of milk is monitored via somatic cell counts and total bacterial counts, with prescribed regulatory limits to ensure quality and safety. Bacterial contaminants can cause disease, or spoilage of milk and its secondary products. Aerobic spore-forming bacteria, such as those from the genera Sporosarcina, Paenisporosarcina, Brevibacillus, Paenibacillus, Geobacillus and Bacillus, are a particular concern in this regard as they are able to survive industrial pasteurization and form biofilms within pipes and stainless steel equipment. These single or multiple-species biofilms become a reservoir of spoilage microorganisms and a cycle of contamination can be initiated. Indeed, previous studies have highlighted that these microorganisms are highly prevalent in dead ends, corners, cracks, crevices, gaskets, valves and the joints of stainless steel equipment used in the dairy manufacturing plants. Hence, adequate monitoring and control measures are essential to prevent spoilage and ensure consumer safety. Common controlling approaches include specific cleaning-in-place processes, chemical and biological biocides and other novel methods. In this review, we highlight the problems caused by these microorganisms, and discuss issues relating to their prevalence, monitoring thereof and control with respect to the dairy industry.