Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 269–281 | Cite as

On a sporeforming bacterium causing the swelling of cans containing cured ham

  • W. Verhoeven


An investigation has been carried out on a type of spoilage of canned cured ham which is characterised by a swelling of the cans, whilst at the same time there are no evident symptoms of a putrefactive decomposition of the contents of the can. From these contents a facultative aerobic, thermophilic, sporeforming rod was isolated. Earlier investigators, notablyJensen and collaborators had undoubtedly also encountered this organism in their studies. These authors attempted to explain the swelling of the cans by assuming that under certain conditions the fermentation of sugar by the bacterium was deviated from its normal course so that carbon dioxide is formed in considerable quantities.

In contrast hereto it has been shown that the bacterium in question is an actively denitrifying organism, and that the swelling of the cans is due to the formation of the gaseous products of denitrification, amongst which — next to carbon dioxide —nitrogen and nitrous oxide are always present and under certain conditions may prevail.


Oxide Nitrogen Sugar Dioxide Carbon Dioxide 


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    A. C. Blackwood, A. C. Neish, W. E. Brown andG. A. Ledingham, Can. J. Res.25B, 56, 1947.Google Scholar
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    L. B. Jensen, Microbiology of Meats. Champaign, 2nd Ed., 1945.Google Scholar
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    N. R. Smith, R. E. Gordon andF. E. Clark, Aerobic mesophilic sporeforming bacteria. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Miscellaneous publication No 559. Washington D.C., 1946.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Western Regional Research Laboratory, Information sheet on the sampling and analysis of gases in cans of dehydrated vegetables. Albany (Cal.), 1944.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Swets en Zeitlinger 1950

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  • W. Verhoeven

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