Behavior of Listeria monocytogenes and Aeromonas spp. on Fresh-Cut Produce Packaged under Equilibrium-Modified Atmosphere

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Storage experiments were conducted to follow the behavior of pathogens on fresh-cut vegetables (trimmed brussels sprouts, grated carrots, shredded iceberg lettuce, and shredded chicory endives) packaged under an equilibrium-modified atmosphere (EMA) (2 to 3% O2, 2 to 3% CO°and 94 to 96% N2 ) and stored at 7°C. As a comparison, fresh-cut vegetables were also packaged in a perforated high-barrier film (air conditions) and stored at 7°C. In a first step, the shelf life of the vegetables in the two kinds of packages was determined by evaluating the microbiological quality as well as the sensorial quality (appearance, taste, and odor). In general, sensorial properties were faster in limiting the shelf life than microbiological criteria. The shelf life of the vegetables stored under an EMA was extended by 50% or more, compared with the air-stored vegetables. In a second storage experiment, the four fresh-cut vegetables were inoculated with a cocktail of psychrotrophic pathogens (Listeria monocytogenes, Aeromonas caviae [HG4]) and A. bestiarum (HG2) before packaging under an EMA and air at 7°C. The inoculated pathogens were more influenced by the type of vegetable than by the type of atmosphere. No growth was detected on the brussels sprouts or on carrots (L. monocytogenes ). Aeromonas spp. had a higher growth rate than L. monocytogenes on the shredded chicory endives and shredded iceberg lettuce at 7°C.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Ghent, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Food Preservation, Coupure links, 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

Publication date: October 1, 1999

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