Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 18, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Microorganisms can have a deleterious effect on the shelf life and quality of fresh-cut honeydew; however, we lack information on the microorganisms present and ways to control the growth. A study was undertaken to determine if controlled atmosphere consisting of low oxygen with elevated carbon dioxide would control the growth of microorganisms on fresh-cut honeydew. Controlled atmosphere restricted growth of native microorganisms, but not Listeria relative to those held in air. Growth of Listeria differed with inoculum level and strain. Thus growth of Listeria, when contaminated on honeydew, can be predicted to increase during storage. This information is useful to the fresh-cut industry in incorporating practices to prevent contamination and to scientists in developing ways to restrict growth of Listeria, so that consumers will have safe and quality fresh-cut product.
Technical Abstract: The survival of Listeria monocytogenes and the growth of native microorganisms on fresh-cut honeydew was examined. Honeydew cubes were inoculated with three different strains of L. monocytogenes at two populations of around 2.0 or 4.0 Log CFU per g, and stored under air or controlled atmosphere (CA) of 2 percent oxygen-5 percent carbon dioxide at 10 degrees C for 12 days. The growth of Listeria was affected minimally, if at all, by CA and strongly by the inoculum level, the strain type, and the storage time. Controlled atmosphere restricted the growth of native mesophilic aerobic microorganisms (MAM) compared to air. MAM populations increased with time and were affected differentially by the inoculum level and strain of L. monocytogenes. These results indicate that different strains of L. monocytogenes behave differently on honeydew and that CA can be used to control the growth of native MAM but not the growth of L. monocytogenes.