Psychrotrophic bacteria are bacteria that are capable of surviving or even thriving in a cold environment. They can be found in soils, in surface and deep sea waters, in Antarctic ecosystems, and in foods.
Psychrotrophic bacteria are of particular concern to the dairy industry. Most are killed by pasteurization; however, they can be present in milk as post-pasteurization contaminants due to less than adequate sanitation practices. According to The Food Science Department at Cornell University, psychrotrophs are bacteria capable of growth at temperatures at or less than 7°C (44.6°F). At freezing temperatures, growth of pyschrotrophic bacteria becomes negligible or virtually stops.
Psychrotrophic bacteria also fall under the more general category of psychrophiles.
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