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Manan Sharma

Research Microbiologist

Environmental Microbial & Food Safety Lab
10300 Baltimore Avenue
Building 307 BARC-East, Room 132
Beltsville, MD 20705-2350 USA

Phone: 301.504.9198
Fax: 301.504.8438

Research Area

Our laboratory investigates the intersection of produce safety and sustainability by examining the persistence and survival of enteric bacterial pathogens in biological soil amendments (manure), irrigation water, and on fruit and vegetable commodities. Our research leads us to examine which factors may influence survival and persistence in pre-harvest produce growing environments, and how pathogens are introduced to fruits and vegetables like leafy greens and melons. Our aim is to provide fruit and vegetable growers data to minimize pathogenic contamination on these commodities and reduce foodborne illness associated with produce commodities in the United States.

Current project, 2021-2026: Improving Pre-harvest Produce Safety through Reduction of Pathogen Levels in Agricultural Environments and Development and Validation of Farm-Scale Microbial Quality Model for Irrigation Water Sources

Previous project, 2016 - 2021: Characterization and Mitigation of Bacterial Pathogens in the Fresh Produce Production and Processing Continuum



Spotlights header image
Photo: Microbiologist Manan Sharma sprays a bacteriophage mixture on fresh-cut iceberg lettuce. The bacteriophage mixture kills <em>E. coli</em> O157:H7 on the surface of the lettuce.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Soil Amendments

  1. Sharma, M., Millner, P.D., Hashem, F., Vinyard, B.T., East, C.L., Handy, E.T., White, K., Stonebraker, R., Cotton, C.P. 2019. Survival of Escherichia coli is affected by spatiotemporal, agricultural, and weather factors in the Mid-Atlantic United States. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 85: e02392-18.
  2. Shah, M.K., Bradshaw, R., Nyarko, E., Millner, P.D., Neher, D., Weicht, T, Bergholz, T., Sharma, M. 2019. Survival and growth of wild-type and rpoS-deficient Salmonella Newport in soil extracts prepared with heat-treated poultry pellets. J Food Prot. Accepted for publication.
  3. Gurtler, J.B., Doyle, M.P., Erickson, M.C., Jiang, X., Millner, P.D., and Sharma, M., 2018. Composting to inactivate foodborne pathogens for crop soil application: a review. J Food Prot. 81: 1821-1837.
  4. Sharma, M. , Millner, P.D., Hashem, F., Camp, M., Whyte, C., Graham, L., and Cotton, C.P. 2016. Survival and persistence of non-pathogenic Escherichia coli and attenuated Escherichia coli O157:H7 in soils amended with animal manure in a greenhouse environment. J Food Prot. 79: 913 – 921.
  5. Oni, R., Sharma, M. , and Buchanan, R. 2015. Survival of Salmonella spp. dried turkey manure and persistence on spinach leaves. J Food Prot. 78: 1791-1799.
  6. Sharma, M. , and Reynnells, R.R. 2016. Importance of soil amendments: survival of bacterial pathogens in manure and compost used as organic fertilizers. Microbiol. Spectrum. 4: PFS-0010-2015.
  7. Reynnells, R., Ingram, D.T., Callahan, M.T., Handy, E.T., Roberts, C., Felton, G., Millner, P.D., and Sharma, M. 2014. Evaluation of Two Immunomagnetic Separation Techniques for the Detection and Recovery of Escherichia coli O157:H7 from Finished Composts. Food Anal Meth. 8: 1812-1814.
  8. Reynnells, R., Ingram, D.T., Roberts, C., Stonebraker, R., Handy, E.T., Felton, G., Vinyard, B., Millner, P.D., Sharma, M. 2014. Comparison of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Composting Council microbial detection methods in finished compost and regrowth potential of Salmonella spp. and Escherichia coli O157:H7 in finished compost. Food Path Dis. 11: 555 – 567.
  9. Harris, L.J., Berry, E.D, Blessington, T., Erickson, M., Jay-Russell, M., Jiang, X., Killinger, K., Michel, F.C., Millner, P., Schneider, K., Sharma, M. , Suslow, T.V., Wang, L., and Worobo. R.W. 2013. A framework for developing research protocols for evaluation of microbial hazards and controls during production that pertain to the application of untreated soil amendments of animal origin on land used to grow produce that may be consumed raw. J Food Prot. 76: 1062-1084.

Irrigation Water

  1. Zhu, L., Torres, M., Betancourt, W.Q., Sharma, M., Micallef, S.A., Gerba, C., Sapkota, A.R., Sapkota, A., Parveen, S., Hashem F., May, E., Kniel, K. Pop, M., Ravishankar, S. 2019. Incidence of fecal indicator and pathogenic bacteria in reclaimed and return flow waters in Arizona, USA. Environ. Res. 170: 122-127.
  2. Kulkarni, P., Olson, N.D., Paulson, J.N., Pop, M., Maddox, C., Claye, E., Rosenberg Goldstein, R.E., Sharma, M., Gibbs, S.G., Mongodin, E.F., and Sapkota, A.R. 2018. Impact of conventional wastewater treatment and reuse site practices on the bacterial community structure of reclaimed water. Sci Tot Environ. 639: 1126-1137.
  3. Markland, S., Ingram, D.T., Kniel. K.E., and Sharma, M. 2017. Water for Agriculture. Microbiol. Spectrum. 5(3): PFS-0014-2016.
  4. Ingram, D.T., Callahan, M.T., Ferguson, S.E., Hoover, D., Chiu, P.C., Shelton, D.R., Millner, P.D., Camp., M.J., Patel, J.R., Kniel, K.E., and Sharma, M. 2012. Use of zero-valent iron biosand filters to reduce E. coli O157 :H12 in irrigation water applied to spinach plants in a field setting. J. Appl. Microbiol. 112 : 551-560.
  5. Ingram, D.T., Patel, J.R, and Sharma, M. 2011. The effect of repeated irrigation with water containing varying levels of total organic carbon on the persistence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 on baby spinach. J Food Prot. 74 : 709-717.
  6. Shelton, D., Karns, J.S., Coppock, C.R., Patel, J.R., Sharma, M., and Pachepsky, Y.A. 2011. Comparison of generic E. coli vs pathogenic E. coli virulence factors in an agricultural watershed : implications for irrigation water standards and leafy green. J Food Prot. 74 : 18-23.

Leafy Greens

  1. Callahan, M.T., Micallef, S.A., Sharma, M., Millner, P.D., and Buchanan, R.L. 2016. Investigating metrics proposed to prevent the harvest of leafy green crops. Appl Environ. Microbiol. 82: 3746-3753.
  2. Patel, J., Singh, M., Macarisin, D., Sharma, M., Shelton, D. 2013. Differences in biofilm formation of produce and poultry Salmonella enterica isolates and their persistence on spinach plants. Food Microbiol. 36: 388-394.
  3. Hirniesen, K., Sharma, M., and Kniel, K.E. 2012. Human enteric pathogen internalization by root uptake into food crops. Food Path Dis. 9: 396-405.
  4. Markland, S., Shortlidge, K., Hoover, D., Yaron, S., Patel, J.R, Singh, A., Sharma, M., Kniel, K. 2012. Survival of pathogenic Escherichia coli on basil, lettuce, and spinach. Zoon and Public Health. 60: 563-571.
  5. Sharma, M., Lakshman, S., Ferguson, S., Ingram, D.T., Luo, Y., and Patel, J.R. 2011. The effect of modified atmosphere packaging on the persistence and expression of virulence factors of Escherichia coli O157:H7 on shredded iceberg lettuce. J Food Prot. 74 : 718-726.
  6. Patel, J.R, Sharma, M., and Ravishankar, S. 2010. Effect of curli expression and hydrophobicity of E. coli O157 :H7 on attachment to fresh produce surfaces. J Appl Microbiol. 110 : 737-745.
  7. Patel, J, and Sharma, M. 2010. Differences in attachment of Salmonella enterica serovars to cabbage and lettuce leaves. Intl J Food Micro. 139: 41-47.
  8. Patel, J., Millner, P, Nou, X. and Sharma, M. 2010. Persistence of enterohaemorrhagic and nonpathogenic E. coli on spinach leaves and in rhizosphere soil. J. Appl. Microbiol. 8: 1789-1796.
  9. Sharma, M., Ingram, D.T., Patel, J.R., Millner, P.D., Wang, X, Hull, A.E., and Donnenberg, M.S. 2009. A novel approach to investigate the uptake and internalization of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in spinach cultivated in soil and hydroponic media. J. Food Prot. 72: 1513-1520.


  1. Nyarko, E., Kniel, K.E., Zhou, B., Millner, P.D., Luo, Y., Handy, E.T., East, C., and Sharma, M. 2017. Listeria monocytogenes persistence and transfer to cantaloupes in the packing environment is affected by surface type and cleanliness. Food Control. 85: 177-185.
  2. Nyarko, E., Kniel, K.E., Reynells, R., East, C., Handy, E.T., Luo, Y., Millner, P.D., and Sharma, M. 2016. Survival and growth of Listeria monocytogenes on fresh-cut “Athena” and “Rocky Ford” cantaloupes during storage at 4°C and 10°C. Food Path Dis. 13: 587-591.
  3. Nyarko, E., Kniel, K.E., Millner, P.D., Luo, Y., Handy, E.T., Reynnells, R., East, C.R., and Sharma, M. 2016. Survival and growth of Listeria monocytogenes on whole cantaloupes is dependent on site of contamination and storage temperature. Intl J Food Microbiol. 234: 65-70.


  1. Sharma, M., Dashiell, G., Handy, E.T., East, C.L., Reynnells, R., White, C., Nyarko, E., Micallef, S., Hashem, F. and Millner, P.D. 2017. Survival of Salmonella Newport on whole and fresh-cut cucumbers treated with lytic bacteriophages. J Food Prot. 80: 668-673.
  2. Boyacioglu, O., Sulakvelidze, A., Sharma, M., and Goktepe, I. 2016. Effect of a bacteriophage cocktail in combination with modified atmosphere packaging in controlling Listeria monocytogenes on fresh-cut spinach. Irish J Agr Food Res. 55: 74-79.
  3. Sharma, M. 2013. Lytic bacteriophages: Potential interventions against enteric bacterial pathogens on produce. Bacteriophage. 2013;3:e25518.
  4. Boyacioglu O, Sharma M, Sulakvelidze A, Goktepe I. Biocontrol of Escherichia coli O157:H7 on fresh-cut leafy greens: Using a bacteriophage cocktail in combination with modified atmosphere packaging. Bacteriophage 2013; 3:e24620.
  5. Ferguson, S.E. Handy, E.T., Roberts, C.L., and Sharma, M. 2013. The use of lytic bacteriophages to reduce E. coli O157:H7 on fresh cut lettuce introduced through cross-contamination. Bacteriophage; 3:e24323.
  6. Patel, J., Sharma, M., Millner, P., Callaway, T., and Singh, M. 2011. Inactivation of E. coli O157:H7 attached to spinach harvester blade using bacteriophage. Food Path Dis. 8:541-546.
  7. Sharma, M., Patel, J.R., Conway, W.S., Ferguson, S., and Sulakvelidze, A. 2009. Effectiveness of bacteriophages in reducing Escherichia coli O157:H7 on fresh-cut produce. J. Food Prot. 72: 1481-1485.
  8. Sharma, M., Ryu, J.-H. and Beuchat, L.R. 2005. Inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in biofilms on stainless steel by treatment with alkaline cleaner and bacteriophage. J. Appl. Microbiol. 99: 449-459.


  1. LeStrange, K., Markland, S., Hoover, D.G., Sharma, M., and Kniel, K.E. 2017. An evaluation of the virulence and adherence properties of avian pathogenic Escherichia coli. One Health. 4: 22-26.
  2. Markland, S., Lestrange, K., Sharma, M., and Kniel, K.E. 2015. Old friends in new places: Exploring the role of extraintestinal E. coli in intestinal disease and foodborne illness. Zoon Public Health. 62: 491-496.
  3. Sharma, M., Eastridge, J., and Mudd, C.L. 2009. Effective household disinfection methods of kitchen sponges. Food Cont. 20: 310-313.
  4. Sharma, M., Shearer, A., Hoover, D., Solomon, M.B., and Kniel, K.E. 2008. Comparison of hydrostatic and hydrodynamic pressure to inactivate foodborne viruses. Innov Food Sci Emerg Technol. 9: 418-422.
  5. Chao, K., Nou, X., Liu, Y., Kim, M., Chan, D, Chum-Chieh, Y., Patel, J.R., and Sharma, M. 2007. Detection of fecal / ingesta contaminants on poultry processing equipment surfaces by visible and near-infrared reflectance microscopy. Appl. Engineer. Agricul. 24: 49-55.
  6. Ling, J., Sharma, M., and Bhagwat, A. 2008. Role of RNA polymerase sigma-factor (RpoS) in induction of glutamate-dependent acid-resistance of Escherichia albertii under anaerobic conditions. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 283: 75-82.
  7. Sharma, M., Kniel, K., Derevianko, A., Ling, J. and Bhagwat, A. 2007. Sensitivity of Escherichia albertii, a potential foodborne pathogen, to food preservation treatments. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 73: 4351-4353.
  8. Patel, J.R. , Sanglay, G.C., Sharma, M., and Solomon, M.B. 2007. Combining antimicrobials with hydrodynamic pressure processing for control of Listeria monocytogenes on frankfurters. J. Muscle Foods. 18: 1-18.
  9. Bhagwat, A.A., Tan, J., Sharma, M., Kothary, M., Low, S., Tall, B.D. and Bhagwat, M. 2006. Functional heterogeneity of RpoS in stress tolerance of enterohemorrhagic E. coli strains. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 77: 4978-4986.
  10. Sharma, M., Adler, B.B., Harrison, M.D. and L.R. Beuchat, L.R. 2005. Thermal tolerance of acid-adapted and unadapted Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes in cantaloupe juice and watermelon juice. Lett. Appl. Microbiol. 41: 448- 453.
  11. Sharma, M., Richards, G.R. and Beuchat, L.R. 2004. Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in roast beef and salami after exposure to an alkaline cleaner. J. Food Prot. 67: 2107-2116.
  12. Sharma, M., and Beuchat, L.R. 2004. Sensitivity of Escherichia coli O157:H7 to commercial alkaline cleaners and subsequent resistance to heat and sanitizers. Appl. Envrion. Microbiol. 70: 1795-1803.
  13. Sharma, M., P.J. Taormina, P.J., and Beuchat, L.R. 2003. Habituation of foodborne pathogens exposed to extreme pH conditions: genetic basis and implications in foods and food processing environments. Food Sci. Technol. Res. 9: 115-127.
  14. Sharma, M., Beuchat, L.R., Doyle, M.P., and Chen, J. 2001. Survival of salmonellae in pasteurized, refrigerated calcium-fortified orange juice. J. Food Prot. 64: 1299-1304.
  15. Sharma, M., Beuchat, L.R., Doyle, M.P. and Chen, J. 2001. Fate of salmonellae in calcium-supplemented orange juice at refrigeration temperature. J. Food Prot. 64: 2053-2057.

Book Chapters

  1. Sharma, M., Ingram, D.T., and Graham, L. 2016. Foodborne outbreaks and potential routes of contamination in fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. in Foodborne Diseases: Case Studies of Outbreaks in the Agri-food Industries. ed. L. Manning, C.A. Wallance, and J.M. Soon. CRC Press. Boca Raton, FL. 19-36
  2. Sharma, M., and G.C. Sharma. 2012. Bacteriophages. in Decontamination of Fresh and Minimally Processed Produce. ed. V.M. Gomez-Lopez. Wiley Blackwell. Hoboken, NJ. 285-295.
  3. Sharma, M., Y. Luo, and R. Buchanan. 2011. Food Safety and Security Issues. in Postharvest Biology & Technology of Tropical and Sub-tropical Fruits. ed. J. Brecht and E.M. Yahia. Woodhead, Cambridge, United Kingdom. 288-309.
  4. Solomon, M.B., Sharma, M., and Patel, J.R. 2011. Hydrodynamic Pressure Processing of Meat Products in Non-thermal Processing Technologies for Food. ed. H. Q. Zhang, G. V, Barbosa-Canovas, V. M. Balasubramaniam, C. P. Dunne, D. F. Farkas, and J. T. C. Yuan, Wiley-Blackwell, p. 98-108.
  5. Solomon, E.B., and Sharma, M. 2009. Microbial attachment and limitations of decontamination methodology. inThe Produce Contamination Problem: Causes and Solutions. ed. G. Sapers, E.B. Solomon, and K.R. Matthews. Elsevier, Boston, MA. 21-45.
  6. Solomon, M.B., Liu, M.N., Patel, J.R., Bowker, B.C. and Sharma, M. 2006. Hydrodynamic Pressure Processing to Improve Meat Quality and Safety. in Advanced Technologies for Meat Processing. ed. L.M.L. Nollet and F. Toldra. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 219-244.

Links to information from the ARS database

Click here to see a list of projects for Manan Sharma

Click here to see a list of publications for Manan Sharma, with access to an abstract/summary for each publication.

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