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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Moisture, Seed Coat Characteristics, and Disinfection of Artificially Inoculated Alfalfa Seeds

Author
item Rajkowski, Kathleen

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 19, 2006
Publication Date: August 15, 2006
Citation: Rajkowski, K.T. 2006. Moisture, seed coat characteristics, and disinfection of artificially inoculated alfalfa seeds. IAFP. Calgary, Alberta, Canada. August 15, 2006. Pathogens and Produce Session. Poster No. P-05.

Technical Abstract: Vegetable sprouts can be a vehicle for food borne illness. The seeds used for sprouts are considered the probable source of the pathogen contamination. Since naturally contaminated seeds have a very low pathogen level, artificially inoculated seeds are used to test decontamination methods. There are research reports on the efficacy of decontamination procedures using seeds inoculated by several different methods. A study was done to compare 15 different inoculation procedures as it impacts the percent moisture of alfalfa seeds using these published inoculating conditions. The percent moisture after drying was similar for 14 procedures verifying the inoculation method did not matter. Further investigation was done to examine the physical characteristics of seed coats from different alfalfa varieties. The studies determined the affect of wetting and drying on broken or cracked seed coats and the efficacy of a reformulated peracetic acid sanitizer to disinfect Salmonella inoculated alfalfa seeds. Wrinkled, broken and cracked alfalfa seed coats were observed for all varieties studied. During inoculation, the cracks or breaks in the seed coats became more pronounced and curled upwards away from the cotyledon, allowing bacteria cells in the inoculums to become trapped under the seed coat when dried. After drying the cracks or breaks in the seed coats did not return to their original condition. Disinfection of Salmonella inoculated seeds with 3 percent, as opposed to 1 percent peracetic acid, resulted in an additional 2 log reduction of the pathogen. This 3 to 4 log reduction of Salmonella is greater than any previously published reports for disinfection of seeds with peracetic acid.

Last Modified: 12/24/2014
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