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Persistence and Growth of Different Salmonella Serovars on Pre- and Postharvest Tomatoes

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The interaction of a range of Salmonella serovars with pre- and postharvest tomatoes was evaluated. Serovars were selected on the basis of previous association in tomato-linked outbreaks of salmonellosis (Salmonella Javiana, Salmonella Montevideo, and Salmonella Newport) or those typically isolated from animal or clinical infections (Salmonella Dublin, Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Hadar, Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Typhimurium, and Salmonella Senftenberg). Salmonella serovars introduced onto the flowers of growing plants were recovered on and within the developing tomato fruit. Of all the Salmonella serovars tested, Montevideo appeared to be more adapted to survival within tomatoes and was recovered from 90% of the fruit screened. All of the Salmonella serovars could persist and grow when introduced onto unripened (green) tomato fruit. In general, growth (internal and external) was promoted at the high incubation temperature (25°C) and high relative humidity (95%), although this was serovar dependent. The growth and persistence of Salmonella introduced on and into ripened (red) tomatoes was serovar dependent. Salmonella serovars Enteritidis, Typhimurium, and Dublin were less adapted to grow in or on intact red tomatoes than were serovars Hadar, Montevideo, or Newport. The results illustrated that a diverse range of Salmonella serovars can become established within and/or on preharvest tomatoes. The majority of Salmonella can grow and become established both on and within unripened tomatoes, but growth on ripened fruit was serovar dependent. The results provide a possible explanation why only a narrow range of Salmonella serovars are associated with foodborne illness outbreaks linked to tomatoes.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1, Canada 2: Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, 93 Stone Road West, Guelph, Ontario N1G 5C9, Canada

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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