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Comparison of the Attachment of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella Typhimurium, and Pseudomonas fluorescens to Lettuce Leaves

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Abstract:

Attachment of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella Typhimurium, and Pseudomonas fluorescens on iceberg lettuce was evaluated by plate count and confocal scanning laser microscopy (CSLM). Attachment of each microorganism (∼108 CFU/ml) on the surface and the cut edge of lettuce leaves was determined. E. coli O157:H7 and L. monocytogenes attached preferentially to cut edges, while P. fluorescens attached preferentially to the intact surfaces. Differences in attachment at the two sites were greatest with L. monocytogenes. Salmonella Typhimurium attached equally to the two sites. At the surface, P. fluorescens attached in greatest number, followed by E. coli O157:H7, L. monocytogenes, and Salmonella Typhimurium. Attached microorganisms on lettuce were stained with fluorescein isothiocyanate and visualized by CSLM. Images at the surface and the cut edge of lettuce confirmed the plate count data. In addition, microcolony formation by P. fluorescens was observed on the lettuce surface. Some cells of each microorganism at the cut edge were located within the lettuce tissues, indicating that penetration occurred from the cut edge surface. The results of this study indicate that different species of microorganisms attach differently to lettuce structures, and CSLM can be successfully used to detect these differences.

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-2106, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2000

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