Survival and Growth of Listeria monocytogenes and Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Minimally Processed Artichokes

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The ability of Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli O157:H7 inoculated by immersion (at 4.6 and 5.5 log CFU/ g, respectively) to survive on artichokes during various stages of preparation was determined. Peeling, cutting, and disinfecting operations (immersion in 50 ppm of a free chlorine solution at 4°C for 5 min) reduced populations of L. monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7 by only 1.6 and 0.8 log units, respectively. An organic acid rinse (0.02% citric acid and 0.2% ascorbic acid) was more effective than a tap water rinse in removing these pathogens. Given the possibility of both pathogens being present on artichokes at the packaging stage, their behavior during the storage of minimally processed artichokes was investigated. For this purpose, batches of artichokes inoculated with L. monocytogenes or E. coli O157:H7 (at 5.5 and 5.2 log CFU/g, respectively) were packaged in P-Plus film bags and stored at 4°C for 16 days. During this period, the equilibrium atmosphere composition and natural background microflora (mesophiles, psychrotrophs, anaerobes, and fecal coliforms) were also analyzed. For the two studied pathogens, the inoculum did not have any effect on the final atmospheric composition (10% O2, 13% CO2) or on the survival of the natural background microflora of the artichokes. L. monocytogenes was able to survive during the entire storage period in the inoculated batches, while the E. coli O157:H7 level increased by 1.5 log units in the inoculated batch during the storage period. The modified atmosphere was unable to control the behavior of either pathogen.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Área de Tecnología de los Alimentos, Departamento Agricultura y Alimentación, Universidad de La Rioja, C/Madre de Dios, 51 26006-Logroño, Spain

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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