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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #120617


item Annous, Bassam
item Sapers, Gerald
item Riordan, Denise

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/12/2000
Publication Date: 12/12/2000
Citation: Annous, B.A., Sapers, G.M., Riordan, D.C. 2000. Sources of bacterial contamination on apples, and novel approaches for reduction of the bacterial contaminants. Meeting Abstract, Proceedings of United States - Japan, Protein Panel, Wakiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii, December 19-25, 2000. p. F-1-F-11.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Outbreaks of foodborne illness, associated with the presence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in unpasteurized apple cider, have led to increased interest in potential reservoirs of this pathogen in the orchard. Fruit samples (8 apple and 2 pear varieties), soil, water, and fecal samples (collected from fourteen U.S. orchards), were analyzed for total and internalized generic E. coli, total coliforms, total aerobic microflora, and yeasts and molds. Samples positive for generic E. coli and/or coliforms were enriched and tested for E. coli O157:H7. Although, generic E. coli was detected in 40, 43 and 6% of soil, water, and fruit samples tested, respectively, no E. coli O157:H7 was isolated. Coliforms were found in 74% of fruit samples, and were internalized in the cores of 40% of fruit tested. Yeasts and molds were internalized in 96.7% of samples and aerobic bacteria in 89.6%. Generic E. coli was not internalized. Total aerobic counts and total coliforms were higher in dropped and damaged apples (P < 0.05) and in orchards associated with fecal contamination or proximity to pastures (P < 0.05). Findings suggest that dropped and/or damaged fruit should not be included in fruit designated for the production of unpasteurized juice, orchards should be located away from pastures, and the use of manure as a fertilizer should be avoided. One of the novel fruit washing technologies under investigation in our laboratory is vacuum infiltration of sanitizing agents into produce. Preliminary results with vacuum infiltration of hydrogen peroxide into artificially inoculated Golden Delicious apples were encouraging.