Modelling the effect of temperature and water activity in the growth boundaries of Aspergillus ochraceus and Aspergillus parasiticus
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The aim of this work was to model the growth of Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus ochraceus, both mycotoxin producers, near to the growth/no growth boundaries and validate those models in sterile maize grain, peanuts and coffee beans. Malt extract agar was adjusted to six different water activities: 0.93, 0.91, 0.89, 0.87, 0.85 and 0.80. Plates were incubated at 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 37 and 42 C. For each of the 42 conditions, 10 Petri dishes were inoculated. Both kinetic and probability models were applied to colony growth data. The results of the present study indicate that the developed probability modelling approach could be satisfactorily employed to quantify the combined effect of temperature and water activity on the growth responses of A. ochraceus and A. parasiticus. However, validation of kinetic results led to poor goodness of prediction. In this study, the validation samples were placed near to the expected boundaries of the models in order to test them under the worst situation. Probability of growth prediction under extreme growth conditions was somewhat compromised, but it can be considered acceptable.