Quantitative Analysis of the Growth of Salmonella Stanley During Alfalfa Sprouting and Evaluation of Enterobacter Aerogenes As Its

Quantitative analysis of the growth of Salmonella stanley during alfalfa sprouting and evaluation of Enterobacter aerogenes as its surrogate.

J Food Prot. 2007 Feb;70(2):316-22.

Liu B, Schaffner DW.

Food Risk Analysis Initiative, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901-8520, USA.


Raw seed sprouts have been implicated in several food poisoning outbreaks in the last 10 years. Few studies have included investigations of factors influencing the effectiveness of testing spent irrigation water, and in no studies to date has a nonpathogenic surrogate been identified as suitable for large-scale irrigation water testing trials. Alfalfa seeds were inoculated with Salmonella Stanley or its presumptive surrogate (nalidixic acid-resistant Enterobacter aerogenes) at three concentrations (-3, -30, and -300 CFU/g) and were then transferred into either flasks or a bench top-scale sprouting chamber. Microbial concentrations were determined in seeds, sprouts, and irrigation water at various times during a 4-day sprouting process. Data were fit to logistic regression models, and growth rates and maximum concentrations were compared using the generalized linear model procedure of SAS. No significant differences in growth rates were observed among samples taken from flasks or the chamber. Microbial concentrations in irrigation water were not significantly different from concentrations in sprout samples obtained at the same time. E. aerogenes concentrations were similar to those of Salmonella Stanley at corresponding time points for all three inoculum concentrations. Growth rates were also constant regardless of inoculum concentration or strain, except that lower inoculum concentrations resulted in lower final concentrations proportional to their initial concentrations. This research demonstrated that a nonpathogenic easy-to-isolate surrogate (nalidixic acid-resistant E. aerogenes) provides results similar to those obtained with Salmonella Stanley, supporting the use of this surrogate in future large-scale experiments.