Research -Biofilm-Forming Capacity of Five Salmonella Strains and Their Fate on Postharvest Mini Cucumbers

Journal of Food Protection

Salmonella enterica is one of the pathogens that is frequently identified as the cause of fresh produce–related outbreaks. Biofilm formation is a factor that can contribute to pathogen survival on produce surface. The goal of our current research was to investigate the survival of five S. enterica strains representing different serotypes (i.e., Typhimurium, Enteritidis, Daytona, Poona, and Newport) on whole mini cucumbers stored at refrigeration (4°C) and room temperature (22°C). We also determined the strains survival on glass slides and in phosphate-buffered saline at 4 and 22°C, as well as the ability to form biofilms on a solid-liquid interphase. A rapid decrease in cell density (>4-log reduction over 8 days) of all five tested strains was observed on glass slides, while a slower die-off (<1-log reduction in 8 days) was observed in PBS. No significant difference in the die-off rate was observed among the five strains at 4 or 22°C. The die-off rate on the surface of mini cucumbers at 4°C was significantly slower (P < 0.02) for Salmonella Enteritidis LMFS-S-JF-005 compared with the remaining four strains. At 22°C, Salmonella Poona S306 was able to grow by more than 1.5 log units on whole mini cucumbers over a period of 8 days, while the cell density of the other four strains remained at the same level compared with day 0. At this temperature, Salmonella Poona S306 was also able to form significantly stronger biofilms on a solid-liquid interphase (P < 0.01) and was the only strain that presented a red, dry, and rough morphotype on Congo red agar plates, indicating the formation of both curli fimbriae and cellulose. These results revealed that the fate of Salmonella on mini cucumbers is strain specific, which highlighted the need for tailored mitigation strategies, such as the effective control of temperature and moisture for limiting the survival or growth of high-risk Salmonella strains between harvest and consumption of fresh produce.

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