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Effectiveness of different antimicrobial washes combined with freezing against Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium, and Listeria monocytogenes inoculated on blueberries

Tadepalli, Shravani, Bridges, David F., Driver, Randilyn, Wu, Vivian C.H.
Food microbiology 2018 v.74 pp. 34-39
Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella Typhimurium, anti-infective agents, blueberries, chlorine, chlorine dioxide, detection limit, freezing, frozen storage, lactic acid, pathogens, risk reduction, storage temperature, washing
To ensure the safety of produce, including blueberries, elimination of potential pathogens is critical. This study evaluated the efficacy of antimicrobial washes when coupled with frozen storage against Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium and Listeria monocytogenes on wild blueberries. Inoculated blueberries were sprayed with antimicrobial solutions at different concentrations for various contact times (chlorine dioxide -2.5, 5, 10, and 15 ppm for 10 s, 1, 5, and 10 min; chlorine -100, 150, and 200 ppm for 10s, 1, 5, and 10 min; lactic acid 1 and 2% for 5, 10 and 20 min) and following treatment, stored at −12 °C for 1 week. Compared to antimicrobial washing alone, the additional freezing significantly reduced pathogens (P < 0.05). Concentrations of all three antimicrobials combined with freezing reduced L. monocytogenes to undetectable levels (detection limit < 1 log CFU/g). The greatest reduction of E. coli O157:H7 (4.4 log CFU/g) and Salmonella (5.4 log CFU/g) was achieved by 2% lactic acid or 200 ppm Cl2 followed with frozen storage. These antimicrobials maintained the visual quality of blueberries and did not leave detectable residues. In conclusion, antimicrobial washes, when combined with frozen storage, effectively reduce the risk of pathogen contamination on blueberries.