Title: Lytic bacteriophages reduce Escherichia coli O157:H7 on fresh cut lettuce introduced through cross-contamination
Authors: Ferguson SE, Handy ET, Roberts CL, Sharma M
Accepted date: 2013 Mar 15
Interpretive summary: Lytic bacteriophages (phages), viruses which have the ability to kill pathogenic foodborne bacteria, were evaluated for their ability to prevent contamination of fresh cut lettuce. Lettuce was first treated with the phages and then exposed to E. coli O157:H7, an enteric foodborne pathogen which has contaminated various produce commodities (lettuce, spinach, sprouts, hazelnuts) in recent years. Lettuce was either sprayed with the phages or immersed in a phage solution, and then stored for a period of time at low temperature (refrigeration). The results presented here indicate that the manner and amount of phages applied to the lettuce influenced the extent to which E. coli O157:H7 populations were reduced on the fresh cut lettuce surface. This work provides a preliminary indication that exposure of lettuce to lytic bacteriophages may reduce E. coli O157:H7 populations on fresh cut lettuce stored at refrigerated temperatures. This information should be useful to other scientists and the fresh produce industry.
Publication date: 2013 Jan 1
Related projects: Microbial Ecology and Safety of Fresh Produce