Inactivation of Salmonella in grape tomato stem scars by organic acid wash and chitosan-allyl isothiocyanate coating.Int J Food Microbiol. 2018 Feb 02; 266:234-240.IJ
The objective of this study was to evaluate inactivation of inoculated Salmonella enterica on grape tomato stem scars exploiting integrated treatment of organic acid wash (AW) followed by chitosan-allyl isothiocyanate (CT-AIT) coating. The treatment effect on microbial loads and fruit quality during 21days storage at 10°C was also determined. A bacterial cocktail containing three serotypes of Salmonella enterica was used for this study based on their association with produce-related outbreaks. Tomatoes were spot inoculated on stem scars and then immersed in an organic acid solution (700ml) containing 0.5% (v/v) each of acetic (AA) and formic acid (FA) to wash under mild agitation for 1min at ambient temperature (22°C) followed by 1min dipping in a coating solution containing 6mlAIT/g CT. AW in 0.5% organic acid (AA+FA) for 1min reduced Salmonella population by 2.7logCFU/g from an initial load of 7.8logCFU/g, while additional coating treatment of AW tomatoes reduced the pathogens on stem scars to undetectable levels (<0.7logCFU/g), achieving, in combination, a >7logCFU/g reduction for the pathogen. Although the populations of Salmonella in the controls (approx. 7.8logCFU/g stem scar) did not change significantly during 21days of storage at 10°C, the populations were reduced to undetectable level in the integrated (AW plus CT-AIT) treated stem scars on day 1 and no regrowth was observed during storage. The treatment significantly (p<0.05) reduced background bacterial loads to approx. 1.3logCFU/g and the population remained unchanged through day 21 at 10°C. The treatment also completely inactivated mold and yeast on day 1 with no growth reoccurrence. These results indicate that the integrated treatment can provide a safe and effective intervention strategy for grape tomatoes.