Publications by authors named "Maribel Abadias"

25 Publications

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Application of an innovative water-assisted ultraviolet C light technology for the inactivation of microorganisms in tomato processing industries.

Food Microbiol 2021 Apr 30;94:103631. Epub 2020 Aug 30.

IRTA, Postharvest Programme, Parc Científic i Tecnològic Agroalimentari de Lleida, Parc de Gardeny, Edifici Fruitcentre, 25003, Lleida, Catalonia, Spain.

We aimed to study the efficacy of a water-assisted UVC light device (WUVC) as an innovative clean technology for the disinfection of fresh sound tomatoes and processing wash water and water turbidity was evaluated as a critical parameter. First, wash waters with different turbidities (from 0.4 to 828 NTU) were inoculated with Listeria innocua and treated in the WUVC device at different dosages. Secondly, fresh tomatoes, inoculated with L. innocua and non-inoculated ones, were treated using the WUVC device containing wash water of different turbidities for different times. The reduction of L. innocua populations on wash water and on the surface of tomato was influenced by turbidity; lower reduction values were observed at higher turbidities. Washing tomatoes with tap water with UVC lamps off (control treatment, TW) decreased L. innocua population on the surface of tomatoes but did not eliminate those bacteria that went into the water. Contrarily, when UVC lights were on, L. innocua population in wash water after treatment significantly decreased, those in clean water being the lowest populations. Reductions of native microbiota on the clean water treated with the highest UV-C radiation dose were lower than those obtained when tomatoes were artificially inoculated. We demonstrated that high reductions of L. innocua population on fresh tomatoes could be achieved using the WUVC system but some drawbacks related to the increase of turbidity should be solved for its implementation in real conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2020.103631DOI Listing
April 2021

Water UV-C treatment alone or in combination with peracetic acid: A technology to maintain safety and quality of strawberries.

Int J Food Microbiol 2020 Dec 11;335:108887. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

IIRTA, Postharvest Programme, Edifici Fruitcentre, Parc Científic i Tecnològic Agroalimentari de Lleida, Parc de Gardeny, 25003 Lleida, Catalonia, Spain.. Electronic address:

Disinfection of fruits is one of the most important steps since they are going to be eaten fresh-or minimally-processed. This step affects quality, safety, and shelf-life of the product. Despite being a common sanitizer in the fruit industry, chlorine may react with organic matter leading to the formation of toxic by-products. Alternative sustainable disinfection strategies to chlorine are under study to minimize environmental and human health impact. Water-assisted UV-C light (WUV-C) is proposed here as an alternative sanitizing method for strawberries. In this study, strawberries were washed for 1 or 5 min in a tank with 2 or 4 lamps on, each emitting UV-C light at 17.2 W/cm, or in a chlorine solution (200 ppm, pH 6.5). Moreover, trials with 4 lamps on, together with a washing solution consisting on peracetic acid at 40 or 80 ppm, were carried out. Overall, quality and nutritional parameters of strawberries after treatments were maintained. Changes in color were not noticeable and fruits did not lose firmness. No major changes were observed in antioxidant activity, organic acid, anthocyanin, vitamin C, and total phenolic content. Yeasts and molds were not affected by the WUV-C treatment, and 5 min were needed to significantly reduce total aerobic mesophylls population. However, reductions of artificially inoculated Listeria innocua and Salmonella Typhimurium after WUV-C treatments were comparable to those obtained with chlorine-wash, which were 3.0 log CFU / g. Moreover, WUV-C light was effective to minimize microorganisms remaining in washing water, avoiding cross-contamination and thus, allowing water recirculation. This effect was improved when combining the action of UV-C light with peracetic acid, showing the suitability of this combined treatment, understood as an alternative to chlorine sanitation, for sanitizing strawberries and keeping the populations of pathogenic bacteria in washing water lower than 0.6 ± 0.1 log CFU / mL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2020.108887DOI Listing
December 2020

Effects of long-term controlled atmosphere storage, minimal processing, and packaging on quality attributes of ( L.).

Food Sci Technol Int 2020 Jul 23;26(5):403-412. Epub 2019 Dec 23.

IRTA, XaRTA-Postharvest, Parc Científic i Tecnològic Agroalimentari, Parc de Gardeny, Lleida, Spain.

are the immature floral stems of the second-year onion ( L.) resprouts. Modified atmosphere packaging or vacuum packaging are suitable alternatives to preserve fresh-cut vegetables. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of postharvest storage time of raw vegetable stored under controlled atmosphere and used packaging system after minimal processing on the quality of fresh-cut . used for minimal processing were stored under 1.0 kPa O + 2.0 kPa CO at 1 ℃ for 30 and 60 days. Fresh-cut were packaged using passive modified atmosphere packaging or vacuum packaging and were stored at 4 ℃ for 15 days. stored under controlled atmosphere for 30 days presented better retention of quality and in turn, being more suitable for minimally processing. Vacuum packaging preserved the physicochemical quality of fresh-cut better after 15 days. Mesophilic aerobic counts were also higher in fresh-cut stored under modified atmosphere packaging, but all counts were below the recommended limits during and at the end of their shelf-life (15 days). The most suitable conservation strategy might be to store whole under controlled atmosphere for 30 days and after minimally processing, packaged under vacuum in order to extend the shelf-life of fresh-cut .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1082013219891007DOI Listing
July 2020

Strawberry sanitization by peracetic acid washing and its effect on fruit quality.

Food Microbiol 2019 Oct 15;83:159-166. Epub 2019 May 15.

Food Technology Department, University of Lleida, XaRTA-Postharvest, Agrotecnio Center, Rovira Roure 191, 25198, Lleida, Catalonia, Spain. Electronic address:

The risk posed by outbreaks associated with strawberries together with the safety issues of by-products from chlorine disinfection in the fruit industry has led to a search for alternative sanitizers. The disinfection capacity of peracetic acid (PA) at three concentrations (20, 40 and 80 ppm) and washing times (1 and 2 min) was compared to sodium hypochlorite (200 ppm) (NaClO) treatments and a water control, and its influence on the physico-chemical, biochemical and nutritional quality of strawberries was also studied. Counts on total aerobic mesophilic microorganisms were comparable between NaClO and PA. For yeasts and molds, only NaClO and 80 ppm PA reduced contamination in washing water, but no differences wereobserved in strawberries. Artificially inoculated L.innocua was reduced by at least 4 log cfu/g in strawberry by all the PA treatments, except at 20 ppm PA for 1 min. Total soluble solids, pH, titratable acidity, antioxidant activity and total phenolic content values were maintained after all treatments. Only anthocyanin content was affected. Treatments of 20 and 40 ppm PA did not significantly affect fruit color, and there were no losses on strawberry firmness. PA, as a GRAS substance that has shown potential to reduce microorganisms present in strawberries without any major physicochemical or sensorial alteration, could be a suitable alternative to chlorine disinfection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2019.05.004DOI Listing
October 2019

Assessing water-assisted UV-C light and its combination with peroxyacetic acid and Pseudomonas graminis CPA-7 for the inactivation and inhibition of Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica in fresh-cut 'Iceberg' lettuce and baby spinach leaves.

Int J Food Microbiol 2019 May 1;297:11-20. Epub 2019 Mar 1.

Food Technology Department, University of Lleida, XaRTA-Postharvest, Agrotecnio Center, Rovira Roure 191, 25198 Lleida, Spain. Electronic address:

The effectiveness of ultraviolet C light (UV-C) delivered in water (WUV) or in peroxyacetic acid (PAA) for the inactivation and inhibition of L. monocytogenes and S. enterica in ready-to-eat 'Iceberg lettuce' and baby spinach leaves, was evaluated throughout chilled storage in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). The inhibition of pathogen's growth by sequential pretreatments with UV-C in PAA and then biocontrol using Pseudomonas graminis CPA-7 was assessed during MAP storage at 5 °C and upon a breakage of the cold-storage chain. In fresh-cut lettuce, 0 1 kJ/m UV-C, in water or in 40 mg/L PAA, inactivated both pathogens by up to 2.1 ± 0.7 log, which improved the efficacy of water-washing by up to 1.9 log and showed bacteriostatic effects on both pathogens. In baby spinach leaves, the combination of 0 3 kJ/m UV-C and 40 mg/L PAA reduced S. enterica and L. monocytogenes populations by 1.4 ± 0.2 and 2.2 ± 0.3 log respectively, which improved water-washing by 0.8 ± 0.2 log. Combined treatments (0.1 or 0 3 kJ/m WUV and 40 mg/L PAA) inactivated both pathogens in the process solution from lettuce or spinach single sanitation, respectively. Pretreating lettuce with UV-C in PAA reduced L. monocytogenes and S. enterica's growth by up to 0.9 ± 0.1 log with respect to the PAA-pretreated control after 6 d at 5 °C in MAP. Upon a cold-chain breakage, CPA-7 prevented S. enterica growth in PAA-pretreated lettuce, whereas showed no effect on L. monocytogenes in any of both matrices. Low-dose UV-C in PAA is a suitable preservation strategy for improving the safety of ready-to-eat leafy greens and reducing the risk of cross contamination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2019.02.024DOI Listing
May 2019

Evaluation of Pseudomonas graminis CPA-7 as a biopreservation method for fresh-cut pear: Physicochemical, enzymatic, and nutritional quality.

Food Sci Technol Int 2019 Jun 13;25(4):271-281. Epub 2018 Dec 13.

1 Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology, XaRTA-Postharvest, Lleida, Spain.

Biological preservation methods with bacterial antagonists have emerged as alternatives to chemical sanitizers for extending shelf-life and reducing the population of pathogenic microorganisms. In addition, calcium plays an important role in maintaining the quality of fruit, and postharvest calcium treatments might determine the potential of fruit for processing. The objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of the postharvest application of calcium and biopreservation with the CPA-7 strain of Pseudomonas graminis on the quality parameters of fresh-cut pears. After harvest, whole pears were dipped in calcium chloride solution (1%, w/v) or water (control) for 10 min at 25 ℃ and stored for five months at temperatures ranging from 0 to -0.5 ℃. Both batches of fruit were minimally processed and dipped in a solution containing CPA-7 and an antioxidant solution or kept untreated, and both groups were stored at 4 ℃ for six days. The postharvest calcium treatment had no remarkable effect on the quality of the whole and fresh-cut pears. The enzymatic activities (PPO, PME and PG) related to browning and softening were constant in fresh-cut pears after storage, and the application of P. graminis CPA-7 had a positive effect on the activity of PPO. Finally, a combined effect of the biocontrol agent and calcium treatment was not demonstrated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1082013218816483DOI Listing
June 2019

Evaluation of biocontrol capacity of Pseudomonas graminis CPA-7 against foodborne pathogens on fresh-cut pear and its effect on fruit volatile compounds.

Food Microbiol 2018 Dec 27;76:226-236. Epub 2018 Apr 27.

Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA), XaRTA-Postharvest, Lleida, Spain. Electronic address:

The application of microorganisms to control the growth of foodborne pathogens is an alternative to the use of chemical additives. In this work, Pseudomonas graminis CPA-7 was tested as a biocontrol agent against Salmonella enterica and Listeria monocytogenes on fresh-cut pear under conditions that simulate its commercial application at 5 ± 1 °C (under a modified atmosphere and antioxidant solution). The quality of the fresh-cut fruit, including the ethanol and acetaldehyde contents and the volatile profile, was determined. After the storage period, the L. monocytogenes population was reduced by 1-log unit by the presence of CPA-7; however, CPA-7 was not found to have antagonistic activity against S. enterica. The fruit quality (total soluble solids content and titratable acidity) was not negatively affected by CPA-7. The ethanol and acetaldehyde contents increased during the shelf-life of the fruit regardless of the presence of CPA-7. Some volatile compounds were key factors for discriminating samples from the two groups (the control group and the group that was inoculated with CPA-7). Some components are common in the volatile profile of pear (methyl acetate, 3-methylbutyl acetate, 1-butanol, 1-hexanol, and hexanal), and thus increases in their contents could enhance consumers flavour perception.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2018.04.007DOI Listing
December 2018

Evaluation of postharvest calcium treatment and biopreservation with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG on the quality of fresh-cut 'Conference' pears.

J Sci Food Agric 2018 Oct 24;98(13):4978-4987. Epub 2018 May 24.

IRTA, XaRTA-Postharvest, Fruitcentre Building, Parc Científic i Tecnològic Agroalimentari. Parc de Gardeny, Lleida, Catalonia, Spain.

Background: Biological preservation with probiotic bacteria has arisen as an alternative to control the growth of foodborne pathogens on food. The objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of postharvest calcium application and biopreservation with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG on the quality and bioaccessibility of total phenolic content and antioxidant activity in fresh-cut pears.

Results: The immersion of whole pears in a calcium chloride solution did not provide added value. Despite the increase in observed activity of PME and PPO enzymes in fresh-cut pears during storage, the browning index and firmness values were constant for all samples. The antioxidant properties, including antioxidant activity, total phenolic content and vitamin C content, were maintained during storage, but a significant decrease was observed after in vitro simulated digestion. Ca/LGG samples showed the lowest calcium content (1.75 ± 0.00 g kg ) after 9 d of storage at 4 °C. In general, the overall visual quality scores were higher in fresh-cut pears treated with L. rhamnosus GG than in non-treated pears, with the highest values in the NoCa/LGG (7.7 ± 0.2) samples after 9 d at 4 °C.

Conclusion: Fresh-cut pears with a postharvest treatment of calcium and immersed in a solution containing antioxidant agents and probiotic bacteria could be a suitable alternative to dairy products for maintaining the overall quality of fruit for up to 9 d of storage. © 2018 Society of Chemical Industry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.9031DOI Listing
October 2018

Effect of Pseudomonas graminis strain CPA-7 on the ability of Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica to colonize Caco-2 cells after pre-incubation on fresh-cut pear.

Int J Food Microbiol 2017 Dec 12;262:55-62. Epub 2017 Sep 12.

Food Technology Department, University of Lleida, XaRTA-Postharvest, Agrotecnio Center, Rovira Roure 191, 25198 Lleida, Catalonia, Spain. Electronic address:

To further gain insight into the mechanism by which the biopreservative bacterium Pseudomonas graminis CPA-7 develops its antimicrobial activity, we have examined the effect that the prior interaction stablished by this bacterium and two foodborne pathogens on fresh-cut pear, has on their capacity to colonize human epithelial cells (Caco-2 cell line) which is crucial for establishing infection. CPA-7 inhibited the growth of L. monocytogenes and S. enterica subsp. enterica ser. Enteritidis by 5.5 and 3.1 log, respectively, after 7d of interaction at 10°C. Furthermore, CPA-7 attenuated the adherence of S. enterica to Caco-2 cells by 0.8 log regardless of the pre-adaptation on the fruit. Conversely, the adhesiveness of L. monocytogenes was not influenced by the interaction with the antagonist but it was reduced by 0.5 log after incubation on the food matrix. Pathogen-antagonist-food matrix interaction was associated to a significant reduction of the relative invasiveness of both pathogens, by 1.3 log in the case of L. monocytogenes and to an undetectable level (below 5CFU/g fruit) for S. enterica. CPA-7 can adhere to and internalize into intestinal epithelium which enables it for competition. Its adherence positively correlates to the multiplicity of infection (MOI) with respect to Caco-2 cells, increasing by 0.6 log in an MOI range of 0.1:1 to 100:1. For the same levels of inoculum, internalized cells could only be detected after 7d of pre-adaptation in the fruit (pH4.5-5.0). However, the combination of gastrointestinal digestion and habituation on the fruit resulted in a significant reduction of CPA-7 populations (by 2 log more after 7d of incubation than on inoculation day) as well as in the decrease of its adhesiveness (by 0.8 log) and invasiveness (to undetectable levels).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2017.09.003DOI Listing
December 2017

Exposure to minimally processed pear and melon during shelf life could modify the pathogenic potential of Listeria monocytogenes.

Food Microbiol 2017 Apr 13;62:275-281. Epub 2016 Oct 13.

IRTA, XaRTA-Postharvest, Edifici Fruitcentre, Parc Científic i Tecnològic Agroalimentari de Lleida, Parc de Gardeny, 25003, Lleida, Catalonia, Spain. Electronic address:

Survival and virulence of foodborne pathogens can be influenced by environmental factors such as the intrinsic properties of food as well as the extrinsic properties that contribute to food shelf life (e.g., temperature and gas atmosphere). The direct contribution of food matrix characteristics on the survival of L. monocytogenes during fresh-cut fruit shelf life is not very well understood. In addition, the gastrointestinal tract is the primary route of listeriosis infection and penetration of the intestinal epithelial cell barrier is the first step in the infection process. Hence, the pathogenic potential of L. monocytogenes, measured as the capability for the organism to survive a simulated gastrointestinal tract and the proportion of cells able to subsequently adhere to and invade differentiated Caco-2 cells, subjected to fresh-cut pear and melon shelf life, was investigated. Samples were inoculated, stored at 10 °C for 7 days and evaluated after inoculation and again after 2 and 7 days of storage. A decrease in L. monocytogenes' capacity to survive a simulated gastrointestinal tract was observed with increasing storage time, regardless of the fruit matrix evaluated. Furthermore, L. monocytogenes placed on fresh-cut pear and melon was subjected to an attachment and invasion assay after crossing the simulated gastrointestinal tract. After inoculation, pathogen on fresh-cut pear showed 5-fold more capacity to adhere to Caco-2 cells than pathogen on fresh-cut melon. After 2 days of storage, L. monocytogenes grown on fresh-cut melon showed similar adhesive capacity (1.11%) than cells grown on pear (1.83%), but cells grown on melon had the higher invasive capacity (0.0093%). We can conclude that minimally processed melon could represent a more important hazard than pear under the studied shelf life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2016.10.016DOI Listing
April 2017

The impact of a cold chain break on the survival of Salmonella enterica and Listeria monocytogenes on minimally processed 'Conference' pears during their shelf life.

J Sci Food Agric 2017 Jul 29;97(9):3077-3080. Epub 2016 Nov 29.

IRTA, XaRTA-Postharvest, Edifici Fruitcentre, Parc Científic i Tecnològic Agroalimentari de Lleida, Parc de Gardeny, 25003, Lleida, Catalonia, Spain.

Background: In recent years, improved detection methods and increased fresh-cut processing of produce have led to an increased number of outbreaks associated with fresh fruits and vegetables. During fruit and vegetable processing, natural protective barriers are removed and tissues are cut, causing nutrient rich exudates and providing attachment sites for microbes. Consequently, fresh-cut produce is more susceptible to microbial proliferation than whole produce.

Results: The aim of this study was to examine the impact of storage temperature on the growth and survival of Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica on a fresh-cut 'Conference' pear over an 8 day storage period. Pears were cut, dipped in antioxidant solution, artificially inoculated with L. monocytogenes and S. enterica, packed under modified atmospheric conditions simulating commercial applications and stored in properly refrigerated conditions (constant storage at 4 °C for 8 days) or in temperature abuse conditions (3 days at 4 °C plus 5 days at 8 °C). After 8 days of storage, both conditions resulted in a significant decrease of S. enterica populations on pear wedges. In contrast, when samples were stored at 4 °C for 8 days, L. monocytogenes populations increased 1.6 logarithmic units, whereas under the temperature abuse conditions, L. monocytogenes populations increased 2.2 logarithmic units.

Conclusion: Listeria monocytogenes was able to grow on fresh-cut pears processed under the conditions described here, despite low pH, refrigeration and use of modified atmosphere. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.8127DOI Listing
July 2017

Evaluation of microbial quality and yeast diversity in fresh-cut apple.

Food Microbiol 2015 Oct 11;51:179-85. Epub 2015 Jun 11.

Universidade do Algarve, Instituto Superior de Engenharia, Campus da Penha and Meditbio Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal. Electronic address:

The present work's aim was to study the microbial quality of minimally processed apples commercialized in Portugal. Sixty eight samples of fresh-cut apple were analyzed before their best-before date in 2011 and 2012 for aerobic mesophilic and psychrotrophic microorganisms, total coliforms, lactic-acid bacteria (LAB), coagulase-positive staphylococci and fungi. The parameters of food safety studied were Cronobacter sakazakii, Salmonella spp. and Listeria sp. Samples were analyzed according to standard methodologies and using Chromocult Agar for coliforms and Escherichia coli. The yeasts were identified by restriction analysis of the ITS-5.8S rDNA-region and 26S rDNA partial sequencing. The mesophilic and psychrotrophic microorganisms ranged from 3.3 to 8.9 and from 4.9 to 8.4 log CFU/g, respectively. Coliforms were detected in all the samples and staphylococci in 5.8% of them. LAB numbers varied from 2.8 to 8.7 and fungi (yeast and molds) from 3.6 to 7.1 log CFU/g. The most common yeasts were Candida sake and Pichia fermentans followed by Hanseniaspora spp., Candida spp., Meyerozyma guilliermondii, Metschnikowia pulcherrima, Cryptococcus spp. and the psychrotrophic Cystofilobasidium infirmominiatum. Foodborne bacteria and opportunistic pathogenic yeasts were not detected in the apples studied. The results obtained respected the European Commission regulation regarding criteria of food hygiene and safety.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2015.06.003DOI Listing
October 2015

Effect of ripeness stage during processing on Listeria monocytogenes growth on fresh-cut 'Conference' pears.

Food Microbiol 2015 Aug 10;49:116-22. Epub 2015 Feb 10.

Food Technology Department, University of Lleida, XaRTA-Postharvest, Agrotecnio Center. Rovira Roure, 191, 25198-Lleida, Catalonia, Spain.

There are several factors that affect the shelf life of fresh-cut fruit, including the cultivar, the ripeness stage of the fruit during processing and the fruit's storage atmosphere and temperature. The effect of fruit ripeness during processing on the survival and growth of Listeria monocytogenes on fresh-cut 'Conference' pear slices at different temperatures (5, 10 and 20 °C) was studied. The four ripeness stages studied in this work (assessed by a fruit's firmness) were mature-green (54-60 N), partially ripe (43-53 N), ripe (31-42 N) and overripe (<31 N). In our studies, pH, acidity and soluble solids content did not significantly change during conditioning at 20 °C. L. monocytogenes grew under all experimental conditions, showing an increase of approximately 2 log CFU g(-1) after 8 days of storage at 5 °C. There were significant differences in the L. monocytogenes population between different ripeness stages at the end of the experiments at 10 and 20 °C. Regardless of the ripeness stage of a fresh-cut pear, the growth potential of L. monocytogenes increased with increasing temperature. A pear's ripeness stage during processing is an important consideration to ensure the quality of a fresh-cut pear, but it is not as important for preventing L. monocytogenes growth at common storage temperatures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2015.01.019DOI Listing
August 2015

Control of foodborne pathogens on fresh-cut fruit by a novel strain of Pseudomonas graminis.

Food Microbiol 2013 Jun 31;34(2):390-9. Epub 2013 Jan 31.

Food Technology Department, Lleida University, XaRTA-Postharvest, Agrotecnio Center, Rovira Roure 191, 25198 Lleida, Catalonia, Spain.

The consumption of fresh-cut fruit has substantially risen over the last few years, leading to an increase in the number of outbreaks associated with fruit. Moreover, consumers are currently demanding wholesome, fresh-like, safe foods without added chemicals. As a response, the aim of this study was to determine if the naturally occurring microorganisms on fruit are "competitive with" or "antagonistic to" potentially encountered pathogens. Of the 97 and 107 isolates tested by co-inoculation with Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Listeria innocua on fresh-cut apple and peach, respectively, and stored at 20 °C, seven showed a strong antagonistic capacity (more than 1-log unit reduction). One of the isolates, CPA-7, achieved the best reduction values (from 2.8 to 5.9-log units) and was the only isolate able to inhibit E. coli O157:H7 at refrigeration temperatures on both fruits. Therefore, CPA-7 was selected for further assays. Dose-response assays showed that CPA-7 should be present in at least the same amount as the pathogen to adequately reduce the numbers of the pathogen. From the results obtained in in vitro assays, competition seemed to be CPA-7's mode of action against E. coli O157:H7. The CPA-7 strain was identified as Pseudomonas graminis. Thus, the results support the potential use of CPA-7 as a bioprotective agent against foodborne pathogens in minimally processed fruit.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2013.01.013DOI Listing
June 2013

Antagonistic effect of Pseudomonas graminis CPA-7 against foodborne pathogens in fresh-cut apples under simulated commercial conditions.

Food Microbiol 2013 Apr 9;33(2):139-48. Epub 2012 Oct 9.

University of Lleida, XaRTA-Postharvest, Rovira Roure 191, 25198 Lleida, Catalonia, Spain.

Recently, we reported that the application of the strain CPA-7 of Pseudomonas graminis, previously isolated from apple, could reduce the population of foodborne pathogens on minimally processed (MP) apples and peaches under laboratory conditions. Therefore, the objective of the present work was to find an antioxidant treatment and a packaging atmosphere condition to improve CPA-7 efficacy in reducing a cocktail of four Salmonella and five Listeria monocytogenes strains on MP apples under simulated commercial processing. The effect of CPA-7 application on apple quality and its survival to simulated gastric stress were also evaluated. Ascorbic acid (2%, w/v) and N-acetyl-l-cysteine (1%, w/v) as antioxidant treatments reduced Salmonella, L. monocytogenes and CPA-7 recovery, meanwhile no reduction was observed with NatureSeal(®) AS1 (NS, 6%, w/v). The antagonistic strain was effective on NS-treated apple wedges stored at 10 °C with or without modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). Then, in a semi-commercial assay, efficacy of CPA-7 inoculated at 10(5) and 10(7) cfu mL(-1) against Salmonella and L. monocytogenes strains on MP apples with NS and MAP and stored at 5 and 10 °C was evaluated. Although high CPA-7 concentrations/populations avoided Salmonella growth at 10 °C and lowered L. monocytogenes population increases were observed at both temperatures, the effect was not instantaneous. No effect on apple quality was detected and CPA-7 did not survived to simulated gastric stress throughout storage. Therefore, CPA-7 could avoid pathogens growth on MP apples during storage when use as part of a hurdle technology in combination with disinfection techniques, low storage temperature and MAP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2012.09.007DOI Listing
April 2013

Pathogenic potential of Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 following sequential passage through soil, packaged fresh-cut lettuce and a model gastrointestinal tract.

Int J Food Microbiol 2011 Aug 26;148(3):149-55. Epub 2011 May 26.

University of Lleida, UDL-IRTA Centre, XaRTA-Postharvest, Lleida, Spain.

From a quantitative microbial risk assessment perspective it is important to know whether certain food environments influence the pathogenic potential of pathogens and to what extent. The purpose of the present study was to examine the pathogenic potential of S. Typhimurium DT104, measured as the capability to survive a simulated gastrointestinal tract system and the capability of adhering to and invading differentiated Caco-2 cells, after sequential incubation (without intermediate culturing) into soil, lettuce and cut lettuce stored under modified atmosphere (MAP) conditions. Two S. Typhimurium DT104 strains were used, one isolated from a pig carcass and one isolated from lettuce. The most important result of the present study is that the sequential incubation of S. Typhimurium in soil and lettuce slightly increased the capability of surviving the simulated gastric fluid, increased the capability to grow in the simulated intestinal fluid but decreased the capability of epithelial attachment and invasion and decreased the overall survival probability of the gastrointestinal tract system. Some variation in responses between the strains was observed, with the lettuce strain maintaining higher epithelial attachment capability and the carcass strains maintaining higher epithelial invasion capability. This study provided quantitative data on the effect of environmental and food matrices on the pathogenic potential of S. Typhimurium DT104 using a realistic system of sequential incubations in environmental and food matrices, followed by simulated gastrointestinal tract passage without intermediate culturing. These results could aid the development of more realistic quantitative microbial risk assessments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2011.05.013DOI Listing
August 2011

Determination of free chlorine concentrations needed to prevent Escherichia coli O157:H7 cross-contamination during fresh-cut produce wash.

J Food Prot 2011 Mar;74(3):352-8

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.

This study was conducted to investigate the effect of free chlorine concentrations in wash water on Escherichia coli O157:H7 reduction, survival, and transference during washing of fresh-cut lettuce. The effectiveness of rewashing for inactivation of E. coli O157:H7 on newly cross-contaminated produce previously washed with solutions containing an insufficient amount of chlorine also was assessed. Results indicate that solutions containing a minimum of 0.5 mg/liter free chlorine were effective for inactivating E. coli O157:H7 in suspension to below the detection level. However, the presence of 1 mg/liter free chlorine in the wash solution before washing was insufficient to prevent E. coli O157:H7 survival and transfer during washing because the introduction of cut lettuce to the wash system quickly depleted the free chlorine. Although no E. coli O157:H7 was detected in the wash solution containing 5 mg/liter free chlorine before washing a mix of inoculated and uninoculated lettuce, low numbers of E. coli O157:H7 cells were detected on uninoculated lettuce in four of the seven experimental trials. When the prewash free chlorine concentration was increased to 10 mg/liter or greater, no E. coli O157:H7 transfer was detected. Furthermore, although rewashing newly cross-contaminated lettuce in 50 mg/liter free chlorine for 30 s significantly reduced (P = 0.002) the E. coli O157:H7 populations, it failed to eliminate E. coli O157:H7 on lettuce. This finding suggests that rewashing is not an effective way to correct for process failure, and maintaining a sufficient free chlorine concentration in the wash solution is critical for preventing pathogen cross-contamination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-10-429DOI Listing
March 2011

Microbiological and physicochemical quality of fresh-cut apple enriched with the probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG.

Food Microbiol 2011 Feb 18;28(1):59-66. Epub 2010 Aug 18.

University of Lleida, Centre UdL-IRTA, XaRTA-Postharvest, Lleida, Catalonia, Spain.

The effectiveness as protective culture of the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamonosus GG (L. rham. GG) against Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes on minimally-processed apples throughout storage as well as its effect on apple quality and natural microflora was evaluated. Survival to subsequent exposure to gastric stress was also reported. Apples were cut into wedges and dipped in a solution containing Salmonella and L. monocytogenes (10(5) cfu mL(-1)) and/or L. rham. GG (10(8) cfu mL(-1)). Apple wedges were packed and stored at 5 and 10 °C. Periodically, microbial population, bacterial survival to gastric stress and quality of apple wedges were evaluated. Although Salmonella was not affected by co-inoculation with L. rham. GG, L. monocytogenes population was 1-log units lower in the presence of L. rham. GG. L. rham. GG population maintained over recommended levels for probiotic action (10(6) cfu g(-1)) along storage, however, viable cells after gastric stress were only above this level during the first 14 days. Pathogen survival after gastric stress was <1% after 7 days at 5 °C. Moreover, apple wedges quality was not affected by L. rham. GG addition. Thus, L. rham. GG could be a suitable probiotic for minimally-processed apples capable to reduce L. monocytogenes growth; nevertheless shelf life should not be higher to 14 days to guarantee the probiotic effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2010.08.006DOI Listing
February 2011

Fate of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Listeria innocua on minimally-processed peaches under different storage conditions.

Food Microbiol 2010 Oct 15;27(7):862-8. Epub 2010 May 15.

University of Lleida, Centre UdL-IRTA, XaRTA-Postharvest, Rovira Roure, 191, 25198 Lleida, Catalonia, Spain.

Consumption of fresh-cut produce has sharply increased recently causing an increase of foodborne illnesses associated with these products. As generally, acidic fruits are considered 'safe' from a microbiological point of view, the aim of this work was to study the growth and survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Listeria innocua on minimally-processed peaches. The three foodborne pathogens population increased more than 2 log(10)units on fresh-cut peach when stored at 20 and 25 degrees C after 48 h. At 10 degrees C only L. innocua grew more than 1 log(10)unit and it was the only pathogen able to grow at 5 degrees C. Differences in growth occurred between different peach varieties tested, with higher population increases in those varieties with higher pH ('Royal Glory' 4.73+/-0.25 and 'Diana' 4.12+/-0.18). The use of common strategies on extending shelf life of fresh-cut produce, as modified atmosphere packaging and the use of the antioxidant substance, ascorbic acid (2%w/v), did not affect pathogens' growth at any of the temperatures tested (5 and 25 degrees C). Minimally-processed peaches have shown to be a good substrate for foodborne pathogens' growth regardless use of modified atmosphere and ascorbic acid. Therefore, maintaining cold chain and avoiding contamination is highly necessary.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2010.05.008DOI Listing
October 2010

Factors affecting growth of foodborne pathogens on minimally processed apples.

Food Microbiol 2010 Feb 27;27(1):70-6. Epub 2009 Aug 27.

University of Lleida, Centre UdL-IRTA, XaRTA-Postharvest, Rovira Roure, 191, 25198-Lleida, Catalonia, Spain.

Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Listeria innocua increased by more than 2 log(10) units over a 24 h period on fresh-cut 'Golden Delicious' apple plugs stored at 25 and 20 degrees C. L. innocua reached the same final population level at 10 degrees C meanwhile E. coli and Salmonella only increased 1.3 log(10) units after 6 days. Only L. innocua was able to grow at 5 degrees C. No significant differences were observed between the growth of foodborne pathogens on fresh-cut 'Golden Delicious', 'Granny Smith' and 'Shampion' apples stored at 25 and 5 degrees C. The treatment of 'Golden Delicious' and 'Granny Smith' apple plugs with the antioxidants, ascorbic acid (2%) and NatureSeal (6%), did not affect pathogen growth. The effect of passive modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) on the growth of E. coli, Salmonella and L. innocua on 'Golden Delicious' apple slices was also tested. There were no significant differences in growth of pathogens in MAP conditions compared with air packaging of 'Golden Delicious' apple plugs, but the growth of mesophilic and psychrotrophic microorganisms was inhibited. These results highlight the importance of avoiding contamination of fresh-cut fruit with foodborne pathogens and the maintenance of the cold chain during storage until consumption.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2009.08.005DOI Listing
February 2010

Liquid Formulation of the Postharvest Biocontrol Agent Candida sake CPA-1 in Isotonic Solutions.

Phytopathology 2003 Apr;93(4):436-42

ABSTRACT Viability of the postharvest biocontrol agent Candida sake CPA-1 stored as liquid formulation was evaluated by studying the effect of growth, preservation medium, and temperature. C. sake was grown in molasses medium with unmodified water activity (a(w)) and in the same with a(w) modified to 0.98 with the addition of several solutes. Cells were preserved with isotonic solutions of different substances. Efficacy of liquid formulations stored for different periods was tested against infection by Penicillium expansum on apples. The best growth media were the (unmodified one and those modified to 0.98 a(w) with the addition of glycerol or sorbitol. For all growth media, the best preservation medium was the isotonic solution prepared with trehalose. When the effect of trehalose concentration in the preservation medium was studied, generally, at trehalose concentrations below the isotonic one, C. sake viabilities increased with increased trehalose. However, the best results were obtained when cells were preserved with the trehalose solution which was isotonic with cells. After 7 months of storage at 4 degrees C, cells that were grown in the sorbitol-modified medium and preserved with the isotonic solution of trehalose (0.96 M) maintained their viability and efficacy against P. expansum infection of apples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PHYTO.2003.93.4.436DOI Listing
April 2003

Improved Control of Postharvest Decay of Pears by the Combination of Candida sake (CPA-1) and Ammonium Molybdate.

Phytopathology 2002 Mar;92(3):281-7

ABSTRACT The potential enhancement of Candida sake (CPA-1) by ammonium molybdate to control blue and gray mold caused by Penicillium expansum and Botrytis cinerea, respectively, on Blanquilla pears was investigated. In laboratory trials, improved control of blue and gray molds was obtained with the application of ammonium molybdate (1, 5, 10, and 15 mM) alone or in combination with C. sake at 2 x 10(6) or 2 x 10(7) CFU ml(-1) on Blanquilla pears stored at 20 degrees C. In semicommercial trials at 1 degrees C for 5 months, the efficacy of C. sake at 2 x 10(6) CFU ml(-1) on reducing P. expansum and B. cinerea decay was enhanced more than 88% with the addition of ammonium molybdate 5 mM in the 1999-2000 season. In two seasons, the performance C. sake at 2 x 10(6) CFU ml(-1) plus ammonium molybdate was similar to or greater than that of C. sake at 2 x 10(7) CFU ml(-1). Similar control of blue mold was obtained on pears stored under low oxygen conditions. The preharvest application of ammonium molybdate did not reduce postharvest blue mold decay. The population of C. sake on pear wounds significantly decreased in the presence of ammonium molybdate 1 and 5 mM at 20 and 1 degrees C.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PHYTO.2002.92.3.281DOI Listing
March 2002

Efficacy of neutral electrolyzed water (NEW) for reducing microbial contamination on minimally-processed vegetables.

Int J Food Microbiol 2008 Mar 30;123(1-2):151-8. Epub 2008 Jan 30.

IRTA, Centre UdL-IRTA, XaRTA-Postharvest, 191 Rovira Roure, 25198-Lleida, Catalonia, Spain.

Consumption of minimally-processed, or fresh-cut, fruit and vegetables has rapidly increased in recent years, but there have also been several reported outbreaks associated with the consumption of these products. Sodium hypochlorite is currently the most widespread disinfectant used by fresh-cut industries. Neutral electrolyzed water (NEW) is a novel disinfection system that could represent an alternative to sodium hypochlorite. The aim of the study was to determine whether NEW could replace sodium hypochlorite in the fresh-cut produce industry. The effects of NEW, applied in different concentrations, at different treatment temperatures and for different times, in the reduction of the foodborne pathogens Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli O157:H7 and against the spoilage bacterium Erwinia carotovora were tested in lettuce. Lettuce was artificially inoculated by dipping it in a suspension of the studied pathogens at 10(8), 10(7) or 10(5) cfu ml(-1), depending on the assay. The NEW treatment was always compared with washing with deionized water and with a standard hypochlorite treatment. The effect of inoculum size was also studied. Finally, the effect of NEW on the indigenous microbiota of different packaged fresh-cut products was also determined. The bactericidal activity of diluted NEW (containing approximately 50 ppm of free chlorine, pH 8.60) against E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, L. innocua and E. carotovora on lettuce was similar to that of chlorinated water (120 ppm of free chlorine) with reductions of 1-2 log units. There were generally no significant differences when treating lettuce with NEW for 1 and 3 min. Neither inoculation dose (10(7) or 10(5) cfu ml(-1)) influenced the bacterial reduction achieved. Treating fresh-cut lettuce, carrot, endive, corn salad and 'Four seasons' salad with NEW 1:5 (containing about 50 ppm of free chlorine) was equally effective as applying chlorinated water at 120 ppm. Microbial reduction depended on the vegetable tested: NEW and sodium hypochlorite treatments were more effective on carrot and endive than on iceberg lettuce, 'Four seasons' salad and corn salad. The reductions of indigenous microbiota were smaller than those obtained with the artificially inoculated bacteria tested (0.5-1.2 log reduction). NEW seems to be a promising disinfection method as it would allow to reduce the amount of free chlorine used for the disinfection of fresh-cut produce by the food industry, as the same microbial reduction as sodium hypochlorite is obtained. This would constitute a safer, 'in situ', and easier to handle way of ensuring food safety.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2007.12.008DOI Listing
March 2008

Biocontrol of the food-borne pathogens Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica serovar Poona on fresh-cut apples with naturally occurring bacterial and yeast antagonists.

Appl Environ Microbiol 2006 Feb;72(2):1135-40

Produce Quality and Safety Laboratory, Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA.

Fresh-cut apples contaminated with either Listeria monocytogenes or Salmonella enterica serovar Poona, using strains implicated in outbreaks, were treated with one of 17 antagonists originally selected for their ability to inhibit fungal postharvest decay on fruit. While most of the antagonists increased the growth of the food-borne pathogens, four of them, including Gluconobacter asaii (T1-D1), a Candida sp. (T4-E4), Discosphaerina fagi (ST1-C9), and Metschnikowia pulcherrima (T1-E2), proved effective in preventing the growth or survival of food-borne human pathogens on fresh-cut apple tissue. The contaminated apple tissue plugs were stored for up to 7 days at two different temperatures. The four antagonists survived or grew on the apple tissue at 10 or 25 degrees C. These four antagonists reduced the Listeria monocytogenes populations and except for the Candida sp. (T4-E4), also reduced the S. enterica serovar Poona populations. The reduction was higher at 25 degrees C than at 10 degrees C, and the growth of the antagonists, as well as pathogens, increased at the higher temperature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.72.2.1135-1140.2006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1392892PMC
February 2006

The use of sodium carbonate to improve curing treatments against green and blue moulds on citrus fruits.

Pest Manag Sci 2004 Aug;60(8):815-21

Postharvest Unit, CeRTA, Centre UdL-IRTA, Lleida, Catalonia, Spain.

The effectiveness of curing oranges and lemons at 33 degrees C for 65h followed by storage under ambient and cold-storage conditions was investigated. This treatment effectively reduced the incidence of Penicillium digitatum (Pers) Sacc and P italicum Wehmer decay on inoculated and naturally infected oranges and lemons stored at 20 degrees C for 7 days. However, it failed to control green and blue mould infections on fruits placed in long-term cold storage, except green mould on oranges, which was effectively controlled. Dipping fruits in a sodium carbonate solution (20 g litre(-1)) for 2.5 min following a curing treatment at 33 degrees C for 65 h satisfactorily reduced green and blue mould incidence during subsequent long-term storage at 4 degrees C on oranges and at 10 degrees C on lemons. The efficacy was greater on injured fruits inoculated after the combination of treatments was applied, achieving a 60-80% reduction in decay in comparison with the curing treatment alone in all cases. A significant reduction of blue mould was also observed on fruits inoculated both before the treatments and on those re-inoculated after the treatments, demonstrating both protectant and eradicant activity. Thus, combining curing at 33 degrees C for 65 h with sodium carbonate treatment effectively controlled these post-harvest diseases on artificially inoculated citrus fruits and protected against re-infection. With naturally inoculated lemons, curing followed by sodium carbonate significantly reduced both green and blue mould incidence, but was not superior to curing alone. With naturally infected oranges, curing significantly reduced blue mould, but decay was not reduced further when followed by sodium carbonate treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ps.880DOI Listing
August 2004