The microbiology of beef carcasses and primals during chilling and commercial storage

Rachael Reid, Séamus Fanning, Paul Whyte, Joe Kerry, Roland Lindqvist, Zhongyi Yu, Declan Bolton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The primary objective of this study was to characterise (microbiology and physical parameters) beef carcasses and primals during chilled storage. A minor aim was to compare observed growth of key spoilage bacteria on carcasses with that predicted by ComBase and the Food Safety Spoilage Predictor (FSSP). Total viable count (TVC), total Enterobacteriacae count (TEC), Pseudomonas spp., lactic acid bacteria (LAB), Brochothrix thermosphacta and Clostridium spp. were monitored on beef carcasses (n = 30) and primals (n = 105) during chilled storage using EC Decision 2001/471/EC and ISO sampling/laboratory procedures. The surface and/or core temperature, pH and water activity (aw) were also recorded. Clostridium (1.89 log10 cfu/cm2) and Pseudomonas spp. (2.12 log10 cfu/cm2) were initially the most prevalent bacteria on carcasses and primals, respectively. The shortest mean generation time (G) was observed on carcasses with Br. thermosphacta (20.3 h) and on primals with LAB (G = 68.8 h) and Clostridium spp. (G = 67 h). Over the course of the experiment the surface temperature decreased from 37 °C to 0 °C, pH from 7.07 to 5.65 and aw from 0.97 to 0.93 The observed Pseudomonas spp. and Br. thermosphacta growth was more or less within the range of predictions of Combase. In contrast, the FSSP completely overestimated the growth of LAB. This study contributes to the very limited microbiological data on beef carcasses and primals during chilling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-57
Number of pages8
JournalFood Microbiology
Early online date06 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The funding for this research was provided by the Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM) ( 11F033 ) administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Ireland) and by Teagasc core funding .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd


  • Beef carcasses
  • Brochothrix thermosphacta
  • Chilling
  • Clostridium spp.
  • Lactic acid bacteria (LAB)
  • Pseudomonas spp.
  • TVC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology


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