Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Animal Science

First Advisor

Joseph G. Sebranek


The popularity of preservative-free foods among consumers has stimulated rapid growth of processed meats manufactured without nitrite. The objective of the first phase of this study was to quantify the potential for Clostridium perfringens growth in commercial processed meats manufactured without the direct addition of nitrite/nitrate. These results indicate that commercial natural/organic cured meats have more potential for pathogen growth than conventionally cured products. Subsequently, the objective of the next phase was to identify and test ingredients that might improve product safety without altering the unique natural/organic status of these products. Commercial brands of uncured, no-nitrate/nitrite-added frankfurters (10), bacons (9) and hams (7) were challenged with a three-strain inoculation (5 log10 CFU/g) of Clostridium perfringens. Reduced inhibition (P<0.05) was observed in seven brands of commercial frankfurters and hams and four brands of commercial bacons when compared to each sodium nitrite-added control. Eight treatments of hams and frankfurters with conventional or natural nitrate/nitrite sources and natural antimicrobials were prepared: (1) uncured control (all typical ingredients except nitrite and nitrate), (2) conventionally cured control (erythorbate, nitrite, lactate/diacetate blend), (3) natural nitrate cure (with starter culture containing Staphylococcus carnosus), (4) natural nitrate cure (with culture and natural antimicrobial A containing vinegar, lemon and cherry powder blend), (5) natural nitrate cure (with culture and clean label antimicrobial B containing cultured corn sugar and vinegar blend), (6) natural nitrite cure without additional antimicrobials, (7) natural nitrite cure with natural antimicrobial A and (8) natural nitrite cure with clean label antimicrobial B. Treatments 3, 4, 5 and 8 for hams and 4, 7 and 8 for frankfurters showed no significantly greater (P<0.05) growth by inoculated Clostridium perfringens than the control. These results suggest that commercial natural/organic cured meats have more potential for pathogen growth than conventionally cured products, but other natural ingredients offer safety improvement.


Copyright Owner

Armitra Lavette Jackson



Date Available


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File Size

132 pages