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Colonization of Tomatoes by Salmonella Montevideo Is Affected by Relative Humidity and Storage Temperature


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Iturriaga, MH, Tamplin, ML and Escartin, EF 2007 , 'Colonization of Tomatoes by Salmonella Montevideo Is Affected by Relative Humidity and Storage Temperature' , Journal of Food Protection, vol. 70, no. 1 , pp. 30-34 .

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The influences of the relative humidity (RH) and storage temperature on the colonization of tomato surfaces by Salmonella
Montevideo were studied. Red, ripe tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) were spot inoculated in three separate trials with 100
l (approximately 106 CFU) of Salmonella Montevideo and stored for 90 min at 22C under 97% RH to facilitate attachment
of cells to the blossom end of tomato surfaces. Following this attachment step, tomatoes were washed to remove loosely
adhered cells and then stored at 22 or 30C for up to 10 days under RH of 60, 75, 85, or 97%. At 0, 0.4, 1, 4, 7, and 10 days
of storage, three tomatoes were individually hand massaged in 50 ml of 0.1% peptone water and the washes were separately
analyzed to enumerate populations of Salmonella Montevideo. The number of Salmonella Montevideo cells attached after 90
min at 22C was 3.8 log CFU per tomato; this level was determined to be the initial colonizing population. After 10 days of
storage at 30C, the Salmonella Montevideo population increased to 0.7, 1.0, 1.2, and 2.2 log CFU per tomato at 60, 75, 85,
and 97% RH, respectively. A similar trend was observed at 22C, although populations were lower than at 30C. Scanning
electron micrographs of tomato cuticles after storage revealed a well-defined biofilm containing bacteria. These findings
reinforce the importance of maintaining stored tomatoes at temperatures that do not support growth of pathogenic bacteria and
demonstrate the growth-promoting effects of high humidity.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Iturriaga, MH and Tamplin, ML and Escartin, EF
Keywords: colonization, Salmonella, tomato, produce
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Food Protection
ISSN: 0362-028X
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