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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2011, Article ID 561975, 11 pages
Review Article

The Importance of Endospore-Forming Bacteria Originating from Soil for Contamination of Industrial Food Processing

Technology and Food Science Unit, Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Brusselsesteenweg 370, 9090 Melle, Belgium

Received 28 February 2011; Accepted 5 July 2011

Academic Editor: Ismail Saadoun

Copyright © 2011 Marc Heyndrickx. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Specific endospore formers have become important contaminants in industrial food processing. The direct or indirect soil route of contamination or dispersal is the start of events or processes in the agrofood chain that eventually leads to important problems or concerns for food safety and/or quality. Three important food sectors are discussed in this paper. In the dairy sector, Bacillus cereus, the most important pathogen or spoilage organism in this sector, and Clostridium tyrobutyricum, the most important spoiler in certain cheeses, both contaminate pasteurized milk through the faecal and/or (at least for B. cereus) the direct soil route. In the fruit juice industry, Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris, present on raw fruits, has become a major quality-target organism. In the ready-to-eat food sector, B. cereus and other aerobic endospore formers are introduced via vegetables, fruits, or herbs and spices, while anaerobic spore formers like nonproteolytic Clostridium botulinum and Clostridium estertheticum pose safety and spoilage risks in chilled packaged foods, respectively.