Research – Biocontrol Approaches against Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Foods

MDPI

Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a well-known water- and food-borne zoonotic pathogen that can cause gastroenteritis in humans. It threatens the health of millions of people each year; several outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 infections have been linked to the consumption of contaminated plant foods (e.g., lettuce, spinach, tomato, and fresh fruits) and beef-based products. To control E. coli O157:H7 in foods, several physical (e.g., irradiation, pasteurization, pulsed electric field, and high-pressure processing) and chemical (e.g., using peroxyacetic acid; chlorine dioxide; sodium hypochlorite; and organic acids, such as acetic, lactic, and citric) methods have been widely used. Although the methods are quite effective, they are not applicable to all foods and carry intrinsic disadvantages (alteration of sensory properties, toxicity, etc.). Therefore, the development of safe and effective alternative methods has gained increased attention recently. Biocontrol agents, including bacteriophages, probiotics, antagonistic bacteria, plant-derived natural compounds, bacteriocins, endolysins, and enzymes, are rapidly emerging as effective, selective, relatively safe for human consumption, and environmentally friendly alternatives. This paper summarizes advances in the application of biocontrol agents for E. coli O157:H7 control in foods. View Full-Text

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