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Metabiotic Effects of Fusarium spp. on Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes on Raw Portioned Tomatoes

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The metabiotic effects of Fusarium proliferatum, F. avenaceum, and F. oxysporum on Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes in fresh tomatoes were investigated. Tomatoes were preinoculated with the molds and incubated at 15°C for 7 days; then they were inoculated separately with the pathogens, packaged in air and modified atmosphere (5% O2, 30% CO2, and 65% N2), and stored at 4, 8, and 12°C for 9 days. The cell loads of pathogens and lactic acid bacteria and the pH were evaluated periodically. The data were modeled through some different mathematical models to assess the shoulder length, i.e., the time before the beginning of the exponential death phase, the 1-log reduction time (δ), and the pathogen death time (δstand). The preinoculation of tomatoes with the molds enhanced the survival of E. coli O157:H7 by prolonging shoulder length and δ parameters; this effect, however, was not observed for L. monocytogenes. pH values did not undergo significant changes within the storage time, and the lactic acid bacteria increased from 5 to 7 log CFU/g, without significant differences among the storage temperatures or the packaging atmospheres. The results of this research showed that the use of fresh tomatoes colonized by fusaria (even if the contamination is not visible) could increase significantly the risk of outbreaks due to some pathogens that could be on the surface of fruits and vegetables as a result of cross-contamination at home or incorrect postharvest operations.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science, Chemistry and Crop Protection, Faculty of Agricultural Science, Foggia University, Via Napoli 25, 71100 Foggia, Italy 2: Department of Agro-Environmental Sciences, Chemistry and Crop Protection, Faculty of Agricultural Science, Foggia University, Via Napoli 25, 71100 Foggia, Italy

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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