Effect of Organic Acids and Hydrogen Peroxide on Cryptosporidium parvum Viability in Fruit Juices

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Cryptosporidium parvum has historically been associated with waterborne outbreaks of diarrheal illness. Foodborne cryptosporidiosis has been associated with unpasteurized apple cider. Infectious oocysts are shed in the feces of common ruminants like cattle and deer in and near orchards. In this study, the ability of organic acids and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) added to fruit juice to inhibit the survival of C. parvum was analyzed. Oocyst viability was analyzed by a cell culture infectivity assay with the use of a human ileocecal cell line (HCT-8) whose infectivity pattern is similar to that for human oral infectivity. Cell monolayers were infected with 106 treated oocysts or a series of 10-fold dilutions. Parasitic life stages were visualized through immunohistochemistry with 100 microscope fields per monolayer being counted. In vitro excystation assays were also used to evaluate these treatments. Organic acids and H2O2 were added to apple cider, orange juice, and grape juices on a weight/volume basis. Malic, citric, and tartaric acids at concentrations of 1 to 5% inhibited C. parvum's infectivity of HCT-8 cells by up to 88%. Concentrations ranging from 0.025 to 3% H2O2 were evaluated. The addition of 0.025% H2O2 to each juice resulted in a >5-log reduction of C. parvum infectivity as determined with a most-probable-number-based cell culture infectivity assay. As observed with differential interference contrast and scanning electron microscopy, reduced infectivity may be mediated through effects on the oocyst wall that are caused by the action of H2O2 or related oxygen radicals. The addition of low concentrations of H2O2 can represent a valuable alternative to pasteurization.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA 2: Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA 3: Davis College of Agriculture Forestry and Consumer Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA 4: Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA 5: Animal Waste Pathogen Laboratory, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Maryland, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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