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Multiplication of Salmonella Enteritidis in Egg Yolks after Inoculation outside, on, and inside Vitelline Membranes and Storage at Different Temperatures

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Prompt refrigeration to restrict bacterial growth is important for reducing eggborne transmission of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (SE). The nutrient-rich yolk interior is a relatively infrequent location for initial SE deposition in eggs, but migration across the vitelline membrane can result in rapid bacterial multiplication during storage at warm temperatures. The objective of the present study was to measure the multiplication of SE in yolks after introduction at three different locations and subsequent storage at a range of temperatures. Using an in vitro egg contamination model, approximately 100 CFU of SE was inoculated either inside yolks, onto the exterior surface of vitelline membranes, or into the adjacent albumen. After storage of samples from each inoculation group at 10, 15, 20, and 25°C for 24 h, SE was enumerated in yolks. For all three inoculation locations, the final SE levels in yolks increased significantly with increasing storage temperatures. At all storage temperatures, significant differences in SE multiplication were observed between inoculation sites (yolk inoculation > vitelline membrane inoculation > albumen inoculation). At 25°C, final log concentrations of 7.759 CFU of SE per ml (yolk inoculation), 2.014 CFU/ml (vitelline membrane inoculation), and 0.757 CFU/ml (albumen inoculation) were attained in yolks after storage. These results demonstrate that, even when the initial site of SE deposition is outside the egg yolk, substantial multiplication supported by yolk nutrients can occur during the first day of storage and the risk of bacterial growth increases at higher ambient storage temperatures.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Egg Safety and Quality Research Unit, Russell Research Center, 950 College Station Road, Athens, Georgia 30605, USA. 2: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Egg Safety and Quality Research Unit, Russell Research Center, 950 College Station Road, Athens, Georgia 30605, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2010

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