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Bactericidal Activity of Isothiocyanate against Pathogens on Fresh Produce

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The bactericidal activity of allyl and methyl isothiocyanate (AITC and MITC) was tested with a rifampicin-resistant strain of Salmonella Montevideo and streptomycin-resistant strains of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes Scott A. Iceberg lettuce inoculated with high (107 to 108 CFU/g) and low (103 to 104 CFU/g) concentrations of bacterial pathogens was treated with AITC and MITC in sealed containers at 4°C for 4 days. AITC showed stronger bactericidal activity than MITC against E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Montevideo, whereas MITC showed stronger activity against L. monocytogenes than E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Montevideo. Up to 8-log reduction occurred with E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Montevideo on lettuce following treatment with vapor generated from 400 μl of AITC for 2 and 4 days, respectively. AITC was used to treat tomatoes inoculated with Salmonella Montevideo on stem scars and skin and apples inoculated with E. coli O157:H7 on stem scars. The bactericidal effect of AITC varied with bacteria species and exposure time. Salmonella Montevideo inoculated on tomato skin was more sensitive to AITC than that on stem scars. Treatment with vapor generated from 500 μl of AITC caused an 8-log reduction in bacteria on tomato skin but only a 5-log reduction on tomato stem scars. The bactericidal activity of AITC was weaker for E. coli O157:H7 on apple stem scars; only a 3-log reduction in bacteria occurred when 600 μl of AITC was used.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, P.O. Box 110370, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611-0370, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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