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Natural-Light Labeling of Tomatoes Does Not Facilitate Growth or Penetration of Salmonella into the Fruit

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Abstract:

The survival–growth capacity of Salmonella populations on tomato epidermis labeled by a natural-light labeling system was investigated after persistent fears of such marks serving as possible entryways for the pathogenic organisms, alone and in the presence of Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum, a soft-rot organism. Different treatments involving natural-light labeling, fruit waxing, and a five-strain cocktail of Salmonella were applied to mature green tomato surfaces in different sequences prior to storage at 4, 12, or 25°C. Fruit was sampled every 3 days, and Salmonella was enumerated from all treatments and unlabeled fruit, which served as controls. There were no significant differences between treatments or between treatments and controls throughout. The results indicate that the cuticle and epidermal interruptions caused by natural-light labeling do not facilitate the penetration and colonization of the tomato pericarp. In a separate set of experiments, the capacity of Salmonella to penetrate tomato in the presence of a potential synergism with P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum was investigated. The addition of P. carotovorum at higher, lower, or equal population densities to Salmonella did not significantly alter the behavior of Salmonella on tomatoes stored at 25°C, regardless of natural-light labeling. The inability of P. carotovorum and Salmonella to colonize natural-light–etched surfaces of tomato fruit indicates that the use of this technology does not adversely compromise the surface of tomatoes.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Citrus Research and Education Center, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, 700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred, Florida 33850, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 110370, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA;, Email: mddanyluk@ufl.edu 2: Citrus Research and Education Center, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, 700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred, Florida 33850 3: Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 110370, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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