Effects of Package Atmosphere and Storage Temperature On Ecoli and Listeria Monocytogenes in Sprouts and Other Vegetables

Effects of vegetable type, package atmosphere and storage temperature on growth and survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes.

J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 2001 Aug;27(2):111-6
Francis GA, O'Beirne D.
Food Science Research Centre, Department of Life Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.

The survival and growth of Escherichia coli O157:H7 (ATCC 43888 and NCTC 12900) and Listeria monocytogenes (ATCC 19114 and NCTC 11994) during storage (4 and 8 degrees C) on ready-to-use (RTU) packaged vegetables (lettuce, swedes (rutabaga), dry coleslaw mix, soybean sprouts) were studied. The vegetables were sealed within oriented polypropylene packaging film, and modified atmospheres developed in packs during storage due to produce respiration. Survival and growth patterns were dependent on vegetable type, package atmosphere, storage temperature and bacterial strain. Populations of L. monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7 increased (P<0.05, by 1.5 to 2.5 log cycles, depending on strain) during a 12-day storage period on shredded lettuce (8 degrees C). L. monocytogenes populations also increased (by approximately 1 log cycle) on packaged swedes, did not change significantly (P>0.05) in packages of soybean sprouts and decreased by approximately 1.5 log cycles (P<0.05) on coleslaw mix (8 degrees C). E. coli O157:H7 populations on packaged coleslaw and soybean sprouts increased (by 1.5 to 2.5 log cycles) up to day 5, but declined during subsequent storage (8 degrees C). On packaged swedes (8 degrees C), populations of E. coli O157:H7 strain ATCC 43888 increased (by approximately 1 log cycle) during storage, whereas populations of strain 12900 increased between days 2 and 5, and declined during subsequent storage. Reducing the storage temperature from 8 to 4 degrees C reduced the growth of L. monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7 on packaged RTU vegetables. However, viable populations remained at the end of the storage period at 4 degrees C.