Impact of relative humidity, inoculum carrier and size, and native microbiota on Salmonella ser. Typhimurium survival in baby lettuce
Abstract The effects of relative humidity (RH), fluctuating climate conditions, inoculum size and carrier on the survival of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium on baby lettuce in environmental test chambers were studied. Buffered peptone water (BPW), distilled water (DW), and irrigation water (IW) were compared as inoculum carriers. Additionally, survival of Salmonella in suspensions prepared using filtered and unfiltered IW was assessed. Salmonella Typhimurium survived better on baby lettuce plants at high RH independently of the inoculum size. When lettuce plants were grown under fluctuating environmental conditions, Salmonella survival was similar under both RH conditions. Regarding the inoculum carrier, the inoculated microorganism survived better on lettuce plants when BPW was used as carrier both at high and low RH. Survival rate of Salmonella in IW was affected by the presence of native microbiota. Native microbiota present in IW did not affect survival of Salmonella or the levels of mesophilic bacteria on the baby lettuce leaves. The information obtained in the present study contributes to the knowledge on the effect of environmental conditions on pathogenic bacteria survival on growing edible plants. These results are useful when selecting the methodology to carry out experimental studies on the survival of microbial pathogens under different pre-harvest conditions. Highlights Salmonella survival on plants was enhanced by high relative humidity conditions. Frequency of environmental fluctuations affect relative humidity effect on survival. Inoculum carrier composition strongly impacts Salmonella survival on lettuce plants. Native microbiota affected survival of Salmonella in irrigation water. Irrigation water microbiota did not affect Salmonella survival on lettuce plants.
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