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UV Light Inactivation of Hepatitis A Virus, Aichi Virus, and Feline Calicivirus on Strawberries, Green Onions, and Lettuce

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A majority of illnesses caused by foodborne viruses are associated with fresh produce. Fruits and vegetables may be considered high-risk foods, as they are often consumed raw without a specific inactivation step. Therefore, there is a need to evaluate nonthermal treatments for the inactivation of foodborne pathogens. This study investigates the UV inactivation of three viruses: feline calicivirus (a surrogate for norovirus), and two picornaviruses, hepatitis A virus and Aichi virus. Three produce types were selected for their different surface topographies and association with outbreaks. Green onions, lettuce, and strawberries were individually spot inoculated with 107 to 109 50% tissue culture infective doses (TCID50) of each virus per ml and exposed to UV light at various doses (≤240 mW s/cm2), and viruses were eluted using an optimized recovery strategy. Virus infection was quantified by TCID50 in mammalian cell culture and compared with untreated recovered virus. UV light applied to contaminated lettuce resulted in inactivation of 4.5 to 4.6 log TCID50/ml; for contaminated green onions, inactivation ranged from 2.5 to 5.6 log TCID50/ml; and for contaminated strawberries, inactivation ranged from 1.9 to 2.6 log TCID50/ml for the three viruses tested. UV light inactivation on the surface of lettuce is more effective than inactivation on the other two produce items. Consistently, the lowest results were observed in the inactivation of viruses on strawberries. No significant differences (P > 0.05) for virus inactivation were observed among the three doses applied (40, 120, and 240 mW s/cm2) on the produce, with the exception of hepatitis A virus and Aichi virus inactivation on green onions, where inactivation continued at 120 mW s/cm2 (P ≤ 0.05).

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Delaware, 044 Townsend Hall, 531 South College Avenue, Newark, Delaware 19716-2150, USA

Publication date: 2008-05-01

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