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Use of Chemical Sanitizers To Reduce Microbial Populations and Maintain Quality of Whole and Fresh-Cut Cantaloupe

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Whole cantaloupes either not inoculated or inoculated with Salmonella Poona were submerged in water, 180 ppm of chlorine, acidified calcium sulfate (ACS: 1.2% Safe2O-ACS50), 1,000 ppm of acidified sodium chlorite (ASC), 80 ppm of peroxyacetic acid (PAA), and a combination of ACS and PAA for 10 min. Although only ASC and the combination of ACS and PAA significantly reduced the aerobic plate count of samples taken from the surface of whole cantaloupe (compared with samples taken from cantaloupe submerged in water only), all treatments reduced yeast and mold counts on the whole cantaloupe. However, none of the treatments of whole cantaloupes consistently reduced yeast and mold counts for the samples of fresh-cut cantaloupes. The aerobic plate counts for fresh-cut cantaloupe were reduced by 1 to 2 log CFU/g by sanitization of whole fruit with ASC, ACS, and the combination of ACS and PAA. The low bacterial population on the fresh-cut fruit was maintained during 14 days of storage at 4°C. All treatments had a limited effect on the population of Salmonella, achieving no more than a 1.5-log reduction of the pathogen inoculated on the surface of the whole cantaloupes. Salmonella was nondetectable via direct plating (with a detection limit of 0.4 log CFU/g) in fresh-cut cantaloupes prepared from whole cantaloupes treated with any of the sanitizers. However, after enrichment, Salmonella often was detectable. Color, texture, soluble solids, pH, ascorbic acid, and drip loss of cut cantaloupes were not consistently affected by any of the whole-fruit treatments. Overall, treatments of whole cantaloupe with ASC, ACS, and the combination of ACS and PAA at the concentrations tested permitted a significant reduction in Salmonella and native microflora of whole and cut fruit; however, Salmonella still could be found in cut cantaloupes from all treatments.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA. 2: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA 3: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Tree Fruit Research Laboratory, Wenatchee, Washington 98801, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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