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Influence of diluent and sample processing methods on the recovery of the biocontrol agent Pantoea agglomerans CPA-2 from different fruit surfaces

Torres, R., Viñas, I., Usall, J., Remón, D., Teixidó, N.
International journal of food microbiology 2012 v.158 no.1 pp. 85-88
Pantoea agglomerans, adaptation, antimicrobial agents, apples, biological control agents, buffers, centrifugation, cold, fruits, microorganisms, nectarines, oranges, pH, peaches, phosphates, postharvest treatment, viability
Determining the populations of biocontrol agents applied as a postharvest treatment on fruit surfaces is fundamental to the assessment of the microorganisms' ability to colonise and persist on fruit. To obtain maximum recovery, we must develop a methodology that involves both diluent and processing methods and that does not affect the viability of the microorganisms. The effect of diluent composition was evaluated using three diluents: phosphate buffer, peptone saline and buffered peptone saline. An additional study was performed to compare three processing methods (shaking plus sonication, stomaching and shaking plus centrifugation) on the recovery efficiency of Pantoea agglomerans strain CPA-2 from apples, oranges, nectarines and peaches treated with this biocontrol agent. Overall, slight differences occurred among diluents, although the phosphate buffer maintained the most ideal pH for CPA-2 growth (between 5.2 and 6.2). Stomaching, using the phosphate buffer as diluent, was the best procedure for recovering and enumerating the biocontrol agent; this fact suggested that no lethal effects from naturally occurring antimicrobial compounds present on the fruit skins and/or produced when the tissues were disrupted affected the recovery of the CPA-2 cells, regardless of fruit type. The growth pattern of CPA-2 on fruits maintained at 20°C and under cold conditions was similar to that obtained in previous studies, which confirms the excellent adaptation of this strain to conditions commonly used for fruit storage.