Modeling the inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and generic Escherichia coli by supercritical carbon dioxide

Soo Rin Kim, Min Suk Rhee, Byoung Chul Kim, Kyoung Heon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) was applied in the inactivation of pathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 and generic E. coli. For both strains suspended in physiological saline (PS), colony forming units per ml were reduced by 8 log orders within 15-30 min, in a treatment range of 80-150 bar and 35-45 °C. Any significant differences between the two E. coli strains during the inactivation by SC-CO2 were not noticed. The microbial inactivation curve, which was established by the modified Gompertz model describing the survival rate with treatment time, was divided into three distinct stages. When using cells in PS, kdm, λ and t8 (the time for an 8-log reduction of cell counts) were 0 to 3 min- 1, 8 to 16 min and 11 to 29 min, respectively. The temperature-dependency of the microbial inactivation was verified via the correlation of the logarithm of kdm versus the inverse of temperature. We have observed lower inactivation rates in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) than in PS, the lowered pH, and an increase of UV-absorbing substances in the cell suspension after SC-CO2 treatment. Also, the deformation and collapse of the SC-CO2-treated cells were revealed by scanning and transmission electron microscopy, and the deactivation of cellular enzymes occurred. These all suggest that the inactivation of E. coli O157:H7 and generic E. coli was possibly caused in a concerted manner by acidification, damage to cell membranes and subsequent leakage of cellular materials, and the inactivation of cellular enzymes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-61
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Aug 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Korea Research Foundation Grant funded by the Korean Government (MOEHRD) (KRF-2006-311-F00122). The authors also acknowledge the support of the BioGreen 21 Program (20050401-034-683-143-01-00), Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea and the Technology Program for Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Republic of Korea.


  • Escherichia coli O157:H7
  • Inactivation of microorganisms
  • Sterilization
  • Supercritical CO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Modeling the inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and generic Escherichia coli by supercritical carbon dioxide'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this