Inhibition of Escherichia coli O157:H7 by background microflora of fresh-cut lettuce and baby spinach
Johnston, Michael Alexander
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Escherichia coli O157:H7 contamination of fresh-cut lettuce and spinach can occur from pre-harvest to product packaging. Natural microflora present on fresh produce may help reduce the pathogen load more than realized. The objectives of this study were to determine if naturally occurring microflora present on iceberg lettuce and spinach under conditions that mimic actual practices between production to retail sale are inhibitory toward E. coli O157:H7, and if so, to investigate possible means for the inhibition. Evidence of naturally-occurring microorganisms on fresh lettuce (295 isolates) and spinach (200 isolates) with possible antagonistic activity toward E. coli O157:H7 was documented. Possible inhibitory activity by several isolates was due either to acid production or bacteriocins.