The sugar production process can be regarded as a process that significantly reduces the microbiological contamination via various steps such as juice purification and evaporation. Spore forming bacteria are one main microbial contaminant in sugar products. The level of spore forming bacteria in sugar can be considered low in a direct comparison to many other agricultural food raw materials. The general perception of sugar products are that they are low risk food raw materials. A new challenge for the sugar industry is spore forming thermophilic and acidophilic bacteria (abbreviated TAB) exemplified with the species belonging to the Alicyclobacillus genus. The bacteria are characterised as extremly temperature resistant in the range of 20 and 70°C in combination with an exceptional pH tolerance down to around 2.0. Alicyclobacillus species produce heat resistant spores that may survive a normal beverage pasteurization. TAB are considered to be one critical microbiological parameter for beverage applications. The contribution will focus on background information on the relevance of TAB, method development within the ICUMSA Microbiologist Workgroup, assessment of the significance of TAB in sugar, results on contamination tracing work in the sugar process ending up with potential technical solutions to reduce the negative impact of TAB in sugar products.
Proceedings: ESST 2017
pdf download: 2018-28-32.pdf