Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



During the last six years research has been conducted on the use of antibiotics in the preservation of foods for human consumption. The first published statement suggesting the use of antibiotics in the preservation of foods was made by Morris B. Jacobs in 1944. The first commercial use of antibiotics in the processing of perishable food became possible on an interstate basis on November 30, 1955. On that date the Pure Food, Drug and Cosmetic Administration approved Aureomycin chlortetracycline for use “in or on uncooked poultry.” The first antibiotics had narrow-spectra and showed little promise. Later there were developed the broad-spectra antibiotics, so called because such compounds are effective against large numbers of different species of bacteria. These antibiotics were used in the major portion of research dealing with antibiotics for food preservation. Today, using Aureomycin, the keeping period of dressed, refrigerated, poultry has been lengthened from 14 days to 21 days. Deatherage was able to keep beef carcasses from spoiling at room temperature 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit for 72 hours by using 55 parts per million of Aureomycin. The major problems in using antibiotics for food preservation are the type of material one is preserving and the type of antibiotic to use. Deatherage states: “One of the first problems to solve was to select the best antibiotic for the products you wished to preserve; and to use the antibiotics effectively one must know something of the nature of the spoilage in a particular food and the specific properties of the antibiotics. Whereas the tetracyclines may be effective in preserving meat, penicillia is worse than nothing at all, for it promotes a more rapid development of the normal spoilage flora. Streptomycin is of no value in preserving the high protein foods, yet is quite effective in bacterial soft rot in certain fresh vegetables. All of these antibacterial agents are useless against fungal spoilage, which is of primary importance in many fruits and vegetables.” In selecting an antibiotic suitable for use as a preservative of meat and working on the assumption that deep spoilage may be the result of organisms found in the lymph nodes, Lepovetsky, Weiser and Deatherage isolated 93 strains of organisms from the lymph nodes. The majority of these organisms were proteolytic in nature. They tested these organisms against Aureomycin, terramycin and chloromycetin and found that Aureomycin inhibited growth in 81 strains, terramycin in 77 strains, and chloromycetin in 74 strains. Nine strains were not affected by any of the three antibiotics. Because Aureomycin proved effective for inhibiting the growth of organisms found in the lymph nodes, perhaps deep spoilage could be controlled by the injection of Aureomycin into the circulatory system of animals. Weiser, Goldberg, Cahill, Kunkle and Deatherage tried to control deep spoilage in animals by injecting Aureomycin into the circulatory system. They found that by using a solution of 55 parts per million of Aureomycin and injecting a volume equal to 10 per cent of the body weight, the bacteria in the lymph nodes could be controlled and a few dressed animals remained sound for 76 hours at a temperature of 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The purpose of this study was to learn the effect of Aureomycin as a preservative when using a higher dose of Aureomycin on a whole animal. It was desired to have undesirable conditions, therefore; the animals were left at room temperature, 30 degrees centigrade, with the intestines intact.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Meat -- Preservation



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Only