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Fate of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Ground Apples Used in Cider Production

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Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in ground Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Rome, and Winesap apples stored at 4, 10, and 25°C was determined. E. coli O157:H7 populations were monitored for up to 18 days (4°C), 12 days (l0°C), and 5 days (25°C), when mold contamination became visible. At 25°C, Red Delicious apples supported survival of E. coli O157:H7 better (P < 0.05) than the other cultivars, followed by Golden Delicious and Rome apples, which were not statistically different (P > 0.05). Winesap apples were the least favorable (P < 0.05) for survival of E. coli O157:H7 at 25°C. E. coli O157:H7 was recovered at similar rates from Golden Delicious and Red Delicious apples, (P > 0.05), but pathogen populations increased in both cultivars (P < 0.05) during storage at 25°C. At 10°C, survival of E. coli O157:H7 was poorest (P < 0.05) in ground Red Delicious apples, while there was no significant difference in survival of E. coli O157:H7 among ground Golden Delicious, Rome, or Winesap cultivars (P > 0.05). When stored at 4°C, Golden Delicious and Rome apples were not statistically different in supporting survival of the pathogen (P > 0.05) and there was no statistical difference in the recovery of E. coli O157:H7 from ground Red Delicious, Rome, and Winesap apples (P > 0.05). In general, apple pH increased during storage and was associated with mold growth. Results of this investigation indicate that there is no trend toward a particular apple cultivar supporting survival of E. coli O157:H7. However, variation in apple pH during storage can negatively or positively influence E. coli O157:H7 survival at 25°C.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The University of Tennessee, Agricultural Experiment Station, Department of Food Science and Technology, P.O. Box 1071, Knoxville, Tennessee 37901-1071, USA

Publication date: October 1, 1998

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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