Identification and Treatment of Bacillus in Low-Moisture Vanilla Pods

Irene Bernadette Mchopa
Natural Extracts Industries, Ltd.

Moshi, Tanzania

Bacillus spp are rod shaped obligate aerobes, sometimes facultative anaerobes, spore-forming bacteria. Sporulation is an effect of microbial stress. In this case the stress is low water activity in low moisture pods. Considering the heat liability and organic nature of our vanilla pods this bacterium is one of the hardest ones to treat. The spores are highly resistant due to their multilayered spore coat surrounding the spore composed of highly cross linked polypeptide species granting the spore resistance to chemicals, heat and enzymes. Despite this set back we were able to treat these bacteria by a combination of temperature, water activity and pressure by autoclave method at short time intervals. There was a reduction from 2.4 x 107 to undetectable CFU/gram. The method is deemed to be effective in treating vanilla pods of a certain quality type.

Irene Bernadette Mchopa started her career at NEI Ltd in 2018, in the quality assurance department. Irene has trained at Nestle’s Nairobi factory on practices related to microbiology testing and control. She has also participated in creating standards in Tanzania’s national technical committee for cocoa and cocoa products at the Tanzania Bureau of Standards headquarters. Irene is a proud mother of a 5-year-old daughter. She is very passionate about baking hoping to own a bakery of her own in the future.