Inactivation experiments with Listeria monocytogenes 10403S, an ultrasound-resistant strain, were conducted at sublethal (20, 30, and 40 degrees C) and lethal (50, 55, and 60 degrees C) temperatures in saline solution (pH 7.0), acidified saline solution (pH 3.4), and apple cider (pH 3.4) with and without application of ultrasound (20 kHz, 457 mW.ml(-l)). The survival of recoverable L. monocytogenes 10403S in apple cider was evaluated, and the effects of temperature, ultrasound, pH, and food matrix on inactivation were studied. Application of ultrasound increased the inactivation rate at both sublethal and lethal temperatures. Additional death of L. monocytogenes 10403S was due to low acidity at the lethal temperatures. The reduction in surviving L. monocytogenes 10403S followed first order kinetics at sublethal temperatures, but at lethal temperatures, a two-section linear model described the inactivation behavior. The bactericidal effect of thermosonication was additive in apple cider. The survival tests of L. monocytogenes 10403S in apple cider indicated the possibility of using a mild treatment condition in combination with ultrasound to achieve a 5-log reduction in number of listerial cells.