Association of Escherichia coli O157:H7 with Preharvest Leaf Lettuce upon Exposure to Contaminated Irrigation Water
Abstract:Recent foodborne outbreaks have linked infection by enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) serotype O157:H7 to the consumption of contaminated lettuce. Contamination via food handler error and on-the-farm contamination are thought to be responsible for several outbreaks. Though recent studies have examined the application of EHEC to store-bought lettuce, little is known about the attachment of EHEC to growing plants. We investigated the association of lettuce seedlings with EHEC O157:H7 strains implicated in lettuce or fruit outbreaks using hydroponic and soil model systems. EHEC strains that express the green fluorescent protein were observed by stereomicroscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy to determine adherence patterns on growing lettuce seedlings. Bacteria adhered preferentially to plant roots in both model systems and to seed coats in the hydroponic system. Two of five nonpathogenic E. coli strains showed decreased adherence to seedling roots in the hydroponic system. EHEC was associated with plants in as few as 3 days in soil, and contamination levels were dose-dependent. EHEC levels associated with young plants inoculated with a low dose suggested that the bacteria had multiplied. These data suggest that preharvest crop contamination via contaminated irrigation water can occur through plant roots.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Food Safety and Health Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Western Regional Research Center, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany, California 94710, USA 2: Biometrical Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Western Regional Research Center, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany, California 94710, USA
Publication date: January 1, 2002
- IAFP Members with personal subscriptions to JFP Online: To access full-text JFP or JMFT articles, you must sign-in in the upper-right corner using your Ingenta sign-in details (your IAFP Member Login does not apply to this website). The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) 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.
Print and online subscriptions are available to IAFP Members and institutional subscribers. IAFP Members with a subscription to JFP Online will have access to all available JFP and JMFT content. Online visitors who are not IAFP Members or journal subscribers will be charged on a pay-per-view basis. Membership and subscription information is available at www.foodprotection.org.
- Information for Authors
- Submit a Paper
- Subscribe to this Title
- Membership Information
- Information for Advertisers
- Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites