Dispersal of Salmonella Typhimurium by Rain Splash onto Tomato Plants

Authors: Cevallos-Cevallos, Juan M.1; Danyluk, Michelle D.2; Gu, Ganyu3; Vallad, Gary E.4; van Bruggen, Ariena H. C.3

Source: Journal of Food Protection®, Number 3, March 2012, pp. 428-620 , pp. 472-479(8)

Publisher: International Association for Food Protection

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Outbreaks of Salmonella enterica have increasingly been associated with tomatoes and traced back to production areas, but the spread of Salmonella from a point source onto plants has not been described. Splash dispersal by rain could be one means of dissemination. Green fluorescent protein–labeled, kanamycin-resistant Salmonella enterica sv. Typhimurium dispensed on the surface of plastic mulch, organic mulch, or soil at 108 CFU/cm2 was used as the point source in the center of a rain simulator. Tomato plants in soil with and without plastic or organic mulch were placed around the point source, and rain intensities of 60 and 110 mm/h were applied for 5, 10, 20, and 30 min. Dispersal of Salmonella followed a negative exponential model with a half distance of 3 cm at 110 mm/h. Dispersed Salmonella survived for 3 days on tomato leaflets, with a total decline of 5 log and an initial decimal reduction time of 10 h. Recovery of dispersed Salmonella from plants at the maximum observed distance ranged from 3 CFU/g of leaflet after a rain episode of 110 mm/h for 10 min on soil to 117 CFU/g of leaflet on plastic mulch. Dispersal of Salmonella on plants with and without mulch was significantly enhanced by increasing rain duration from 0 to 10 min, but dispersal was reduced when rainfall duration increased from 10 to 30 min. Salmonella may be dispersed by rain to contaminate tomato plants in the field, especially during rain events of 10 min and when plastic mulch is used.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-11-399

Affiliations: 1: Emerging Pathogens Institute and Department of Plant Pathology, University of Florida, 2055 Mowry Road, Gainesville, Florida 32611;, Email: jmanuel@ufl.edu 2: Citrus Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred, Florida 33850 3: Emerging Pathogens Institute and Department of Plant Pathology, University of Florida, 2055 Mowry Road, Gainesville, Florida 32611 4: Gulf Coast Research and Education Center–Balm, University of Florida, 14625 CR 672, Wimauma, Florida 33598, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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