Once pathogens are internalized in fresh produce, they pose a challenging food safety issue since they are not effectively inactivated by conventional rinsing or sanitization. To protect food safety and public health, the objectives were to examine internalized levels of foodborne pathogens in different types of fresh produce and to investigate the effectiveness of photocatalytically enhanced inactivation of internalized pathogens in fresh produce using UV irradiation with titanium dioxide (TiO 2 ). For this, green fluorescent protein-labeled S. Typhimurium and E. coli O157:H7 were inoculated on the leaf surface of four types of fresh produce (~10 8 CFU (colony-forming unit)/leaf) and varying concentrations of TiO 2 suspension (0.50, 0.75, 1.00, 1.25, and 1.50 µg/ml)) were applied to the surface of contaminated leaves. Depending on the nature of each vegetable, the internalized bacterial level differed (log 2 – 5 CFU/g of leaf). When UV irradiation (6,000 J/m 2 ) was applied, the internalized S. Typhimurium and E. coli levels were reduced by 0.8 – 2.4 log CFU/leaf and was with TiO 2 , the reduction was 1.1 – 3.7 log CFU/leaf. The inactivation efficiency increased as the TiO 2 concentration (up to 1.50 μg/leaf). These results indicate that the TiO 2 application enhanced the photocatalytic inactivation of internalized foodborne pathogens. The application of TiO2 would be most practical before UV irradiation and before distributing the produce. This study established a platform for future research on the inactivation of various internalized pathogens for protecting public health and scaling up fresh produce treatments by the food industry.
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