In this study, thermal inactivation parameters (D- and z-values) of Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris spores in Mcllvaine buffers at different pH, apple juice and apple nectar produced with and without ascorbic acid addition were determined. The effects of pH, temperature and ascorbic acid concentration on D-values of A. acidoterrestris spores were also investigated using response surface methodology. A second order polynomial equation was used to describe the relationship between pH, temperature, ascorbic acid concentration and the D-values of A. acidoterrestris spores. Temperature was the most important factor on D-values, and its effect was three times higher than those of pH. Although the statistically significant, heat resistance of A. acidoterrestris spores was not so influenced from the ascorbic acid within the concentration studied. D-values in apple juice and apple nectars were higher than those in buffers as heating medium at similar pH. The D-values ranged from 11.1 (90 degrees C) to 0.7 min (100 degrees C) in apple juice, 14.1 (90 degrees C) to 1.0 min (100 degrees C) in apple nectar produced with ascorbic acid addition, and 14.4 (90 degrees C) to 1.2 min (100 degrees C) in apple nectar produced without ascorbic acid addition. However, no significant difference in z-values was observed among spores in the juices and buffers at different pH, and it was between 8.2 and 9.2 degrees C. The results indicated that the spores of A. acidoterrestris may survive in fruit juices and nectars after pasteurization treatment commonly applied in the food industry. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.