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Incidence and Behavior of Salmonella and Escherichia coli on Whole and Sliced Zucchini Squash (Cucurbitapepo) Fruit

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Abstract:

The incidence of coliform bacteria (CB), thermotolerant coliforms (TC), Escherichia coli, and Salmonella was determined for zucchini squash fruit. In addition, the behavior of four serotypes of Salmonella and a cocktail of three E. coli strains on whole and sliced zucchini squash at 25 ± 2°C and 3 to 5°C was tested. Squash fruit was collected in the markets of Pachuca city, Hidalgo State, Mexico. CB, TC, E. coli, and Salmonella were detected in 100, 70, 62, and 10% of the produce, respectively. The concentration ranged from 3.8 to 7.4 log CFU per sample for CB, and >3 to 1,100 most probable number per sample for TC and E. coli. On whole fruit stored at 25 ± 2°C or 3 to 5°C, no growth was observed for any of the tested microorganisms or cocktails thereof. After 15 days at 25 ± 2°C, the tested Salmonella serotypes had decreased from an initial inoculum level of 7 log CFU to <1 log, and at 3 to 5°C they decreased to approximately 2 log. Survival of E. coli was significantly greater than for the Salmonella strains at the same times and temperatures; after 15 days, at 25 ± 2°C E. coli cocktail strains had decreased to 3.4 log CFU per fruit and at 3 to 5°C they decreased to 3.6 log CFU per fruit. Both the Salmonella serotypes and E. coli strains grew when inoculated onto sliced squash: after 24 h at 25 ± 2°C, both bacteria had grown to approximately 6.5 log CFU per slice. At 3 to 5°C, the bacterial growth was inhibited. The squash may be an important factor contributing to the endemicity of Salmonella in Mexico.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centro de Investigaciones Químicas, Instituto de Ciencias Básicas e Ingeniería, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo, Centro Universitario, Carretera Pachuca-Tulancingo Km. 4.5, Mineral de la reforma, Hidalgo, C.P. 42183, México 2: Centro de Investigaciones Químicas, Instituto de Ciencias Básicas e Ingeniería, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo, Centro Universitario, Carretera Pachuca-Tulancingo Km. 4.5, Mineral de la reforma, Hidalgo, C.P. 42183, México 3: Centro de Investigaciones Químicas, Instituto de Ciencias Básicas e Ingeniería, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo, Centro Universitario, Carretera Pachuca-Tulancingo Km. 4.5, Mineral de la reforma, Hidalgo, C.P. 42183, México 4: Laboratorio de Microbiología Sanitaria, Centro Universitario de Ciencias Exactas e Ingeniería, Universidad de Guadalajara, Marcelino García Barragán 1451, Guadalajara 44430, México

Publication date: August 1, 2010

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