Microbiological profile of milk: impact of household practices.

Research paper by Amit A Agarwal, Vandana V Awasthi, Ajit A Dua, Sanjeev S Ganguly, Vivek V Garg, Satwinder S SS Marwaha

Indexed on: 12 Jun '12Published on: 12 Jun '12Published in: Indian journal of public health


Milk is susceptible to contamination by many microorganisms including microbial pathogens responsible for causing diseases. Various processes including pasteurization, boiling or storage under refrigerated conditions are undertaken to minimize the microbial contamination of milk.This study was undertaken with an objective to evaluate the effect of household practices on the microbiological profile of milk.Milk samples of pasteurized, ultra heat treated (UHT) as well as unpasteurized milk (Vendor's milk) were collected. The effect of different storage practices and treatments on the microbiological profile (standard plate count (SPC), coliform, E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, Staphylococcus aureus, yeast and moulds, anaerobic spore count, and Listeria monocytogenes) of milk was studied using National/ International Standard Test Methods.Average SPC in vendor's milk was found very high as compared to pasteurized milk. Coliform, yeast and moulds, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus were detected in the samples of vendor's as well as pasteurized milk. Boiling the milk reduces SPC and kills the other microorganisms. Storage of boiled milk under room temperature or refrigerated condition resulted in a similar increase in SPC at the end of 24 h, but storage of un-boiled milk even under refrigerated conditions increased SPC manifold after 24 h.The pasteurization process and hygienic conditions at the milk processing units along with cold chain of milk from suppliers to end users needs improvement. Currently, even pasteurized milk does not match the microbiological standards. It is recommended that milk should be boiled before consumption and refrigerated for storage to improve its shelf life/keeping quality.