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Effect of Nisin in Combination with EDTA, Sodium Lactate, and Potassium Sorbate for Reducing Salmonella on Whole and Fresh-Cut Cantaloupe

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Nisin (50 g/ml), EDTA (0.02 M, disodium salt), sodium lactate (NaL, 2%), and potassium sorbate (KS, 0.02%) were tested individually and in various combinations as sanitizer treatments for reducing Salmonella on whole and fresh-cut cantaloupe. Whole cantaloupe and fresh-cut pieces were inoculated with a five-strain cocktail of Salmonella to give 4.76 ± 0.23 log CFU/cm2 and 3.42 ± 0.13 log CFU/g, respectively. Inoculated whole melons and fresh-cut pieces were stored at 5°C for 7 days. Washing treatments were applied to inoculated whole melons at days 0, 3, and 7 of storage, and surviving bacterial populations were determined. The effect of the washing treatments on transfer of Salmonella to fresh-cut pieces prepared immediately after treatment was also determined. Directly inoculated fresh-cut pieces were treated at day 0, and surviving bacteria were enumerated at days 0, 3, and 7 of storage. The combination treatments of nisin-EDTA, nisin-NaL, nisin-KS, NaL-KS, and nisin-NaL-KS all resulted in reductions of approximately 3 log CFU/cm 2 at day 0 for whole melons. When tested alone, all compounds, along with water washes, were ineffective. After 3 and 7 days of storage, the five combination washing treatments were less effective, resulting in reductions of approximately 2 log CFU/cm2. None of the combination treatments completely eliminated transfer of pathogen survivors to fresh-cut pieces. The combination treatments nisin-NaL, nisin-KS, NaL-KS, and nisin-NaL-KS, but not nisin-EDTA, gave significant (P < 0.05) reductions of Salmonella directly inoculated onto fresh-cut pieces. Washing with nisin-NaL-KS was significantly (P < 0.05) more effective than the other three combination treatments, resulting in a reduction of 1.4 CFU/g. Inhibition by the four effective treatments carried over from day 0 through day 7 of storage, with no increase in the population of Salmonella on the stored fresh-cut pieces. Sensory evaluations indicated that treatment of fresh-cut pieces with nisin-NaL and NaL-KS, but not nisin-KS or nisin-NaL-KS, were acceptable in terms of appearance, odor, and overall acceptability. After the required regulatory approval, treatment of whole cantaloupe with nisin in combination with EDTA, NaL, KS, or NaL and KS and of fresh-cut pieces with nisin-NaL or NaL-KS could help ensure the microbiological safety of fresh-cut cantaloupe.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Food Safety Intervention Technologies Research Unit, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA

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