09 Dec

Thermal Death Point and Thermal Death Time

When I think of thermal death point and thermal death time I think of the week I spent in Sicily in August of 2006.  I walked through some of the rolling hills in my grandfather’s hometown and did not have any water.  I wonder how long I would have lasted in that heat.  Live and learn.  To a microbiologist, thermal death point and thermal death time refer to the ways in which one can determine the succeptibility of microorganisms to different levels of elevated temperature.  The thermal death point or TDP is the temperature at which an organism is killed in 10 minutes.  The thermal death time is the time required to kill a suspension of cells or spore at a given temperature.  Factors such as pH, moisture, medium composition, and age of cells can influence the results and must be accounted for.  The thermal death time and thermal death point are important in the food industry because canned foods must be heated to temperatures that will kill the endospores of Clostridium botulinum and Clostridium perfringens, two bacteria involved in food poisoning.