Pathogens & Bacteria Sprout Safety Research

Researching sprouts and pathogens? We have collected the latest safety research regarding pathogens, bacteria and sprouts into a single location.

Pathogenic bacteria and sprouts can combine to create foodborne illness problems, a challenge that the sprouting industry takes very seriously.

International Specialty Supply, a leading provider of sprout growing equipment and sprout seeds, is a leader in sprout food safety practices for the sprouts industry. We have gathered numerous articles on sprouts and bacteria. This research, which comes from various sources, covers some important food safety research studies related to sprouts, bacteria and pathogens.

Food Safety Research on Sprouts and Bacteria

"A simple method for the direct detection of Salmonella and Escherichia coli O157:H7 from raw alfalfa sprouts and spent irrigation water using PCR." J Food Prot. 2005 Nov;68(11):2256-63. Johnston LM, Elhanafi D, Drake M, Jaykus LA.

"Analysis of Sprouts for Coliforms, Escherichia Coli, and Klebsiella Pneumoniae" Laboratory Procedure MFLP-64, Health Protection Branch, Health Canada,  October 1999, Don Warburton, Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Food Directorate.

"Bacteria within ovules and seeds"Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 32:694-698. Mundt J. O. and N. F. Hinkle. 1974.

"Bacterial communities associated with retail alfalfa sprouts." Journal of Food Protection (Volume 71, Number 1, January 2008 , pp. 200-204(5)). Loui, Cindy; Grigoryan, Grigor; Huang, Haohao; Riley, Lee W.; Lu, Sangwei.

"Bacteriological quality of sprouts and salads containing sprouts" M. L. Danielsson-Tham and K. Holm, 1983 Bar Foda 35:11-19.

"Bacteriological survey of sixty health foods" W H Andrews, C R Wilson, P L Poelma, A Romero, and P B Mislivec, Appl Environ Microbiol. 1979 March; 37(3): 559-566.

"Biogenic amines and microbial quality of sprouts.", Z Lebensm Unters Forsch 1995 Apr;200(4):261-5, Simon-Sarkadi L, Holzapfel WH., Department of Biochemistry and Food Technology, Technical University Budapest, Hungary.

"Characterization of Bacillus cereus isolates from raw soybean sprouts", May 2004, Journal of Food Protection Vol. 67, No. 5, Kim H-J.[1]; Lee D.S.[1]; Paik H-D.[2], [1] Division of Life Sciences, Kyungnam University, Masan 631-701, Korea [2] Division of Animal Life Science, Konkuk University, Seoul 143-701, Korea.

"Characterization of the Binding of Diarrheagenic Strains of E. coli to Plant Surfaces and the Role of Curli in the Interaction of the Bacteria with Alfalfa Sprouts" MPMI Vol. 18, No. 11, 2005, pp. 1235-1242. DOI: 10.1094/MPMI -18-1235. © 2005 The American Phytopathological Society, Cecelia Jeter and Ann G. Matthysse.

"Colonization of Arabidopsis thaliana with Salmonella enterica and Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Competition by Enterobacter asburiae" Michael B. Cooley, William G. Miller, and Robert E. Mandrell Produce Safety and Microbiology Research Unit, Western Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Albany, California 94710. Received 20 September 2002/ Accepted 29 May 2003.

"Commercial mushrooms and bean sprouts are a source of Pseudomonas aeruginosa." J Clin Microbiol. 2005 Nov;43(11):5830-1. Curran B, Morgan JA, Honeybourne D, Dowson CG.

"Contamination and deterioration of alfalfa sprouts caused by a seedborne isolate of Erwinia herbicola" Journal of Food Quality 1997;20:53-60. Moline HE, Kulik MM.

"Detection and frequency of Cronobacter spp. (Enterobacter sakazakii) in different categories of ready-to-eat foods other than infant formula." Int J Food Microbiol. 2009 Apr 20.Baumgartner A, Grand M, Liniger M, Iversen C.

"Differences in Attachment of Salmonella enterica Serovars and Escherichia coli O157:H7 to Alfalfa Sprouts", Applied and Environmental Microbiology, October 2002, p. 4758-4763, Vol. 68, No. 10, American Society for Microbiology. J. D. Barak,* L. C. Whitehand, and A. O. Charkowski.

"Differences in growth of Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli O157:H7 on alfalfa sprouts.", Appl Environ Microbiol 2002 Jun;68(6):3114-20, Charkowski AO, Barak JD, Sarreal CZ, Mandrell RE. Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.

"The dynamics of human pathogen colonization of produce" Western Regional Research Center, Produce Safety and Microbiology Research Unit E; Barak, J., Brandl, M., Cooley, M.,Gorski, L., Miller, W., Palumbo, J.,Tian, P., and Mandrell, R. website accessed July 8, 2008.

"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.

"Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 Present in Radish Sprouts", Appl Environ Microbiol, April 1998, p. 1532-1535, Vol. 64, No. 4, Yoshinori Itoh, Yoshiko Sugita-Konishi, Fumiko Kasuga, Masaaki Iwaki, Yukiko Hara-Kudo, Noriko Saito, Yoko Noguchi, Hirotaka Konuma, and Susumu Kumagai.

"Enumeration and characterization of Aeromonas hydrophila and Aeromonas caviae isolated from grocery store produce"S M Callister and W A Agger, Appl Environ Microbiol. 1987 February; 53(2): 249-253.

"Estimation of Microbial Contamination of Food from Prevalence and Concentration Data: Application to Listeria monocytogenes in Fresh Vegetables" Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jan;73(1):250-8. Epub 2006 Nov 10. Crepet A, Albert I, Dervin C, Carlin F.

"Factors Affecting Production of Extracellular Carbohydrate Complexes by Escherichia coli O157:H7", Int J Food Microbiol. 2004 Sep 1;95(2):189-204., Ryu JH, Beuchat LR., Center for Food Safety and Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223-1797, USA.

"Food Protection from Escherichia coli and other Bacteria," Isshiki, Tanaka, US-Japan Cooperative Program in Natural Resources, Dec 14-19, 1997.

"Growth Dynamics of Salmonella enterica Strains on Alfalfa Sprouts and in Waste Seed Irrigation Water" Applied and Environmental Microbioloby, Jan. 2003, p. 548-553 Vol. 69, No. 1, Michael B. Howard and Steven W. Hutcheson*, Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742.

"Growth of Escherichia coli O157:H7 during sprouting of alfalfa seeds", Letters in Applied Microbiology, Volume 33 Issue 2 Page 95  - August 2001, D. Stewart, K. Reineke, J. Ulaszek, T. Fu & M. Tortorello

"Growth of Listeria monocytogenes during germination of alfalfa sprouts" , M. Palmai, R. L. Buchanan  Food Microbiology, pp. 195-200, (doi:10.1006/fmic.2001.0470) , Vol. 19, No. 2/3, April/June 2002, ISSN: 0740-0020, EISSN: 1095-9998

"Growth of Salmonella During Sprouting of Alfalfa Seeds Associated with Salmonellosis Outbreaks",  D.S. Stewart, K.F. Reineke, J.M. Ulaszek, and M.L. Tortorello, Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 64, No 5, 2001, Pages 618-622. 

"Growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus during germination and drying of finger millet and kidney beans" International Journal of Food Science & Technology, Volume 38 Issue 2 Page 119  - February 2003, doi:10.1046/j.1365-2621.2003.00652.x,Martin E. Kimanya, Peter R. S. Mamiro,  John Van Camp, Frank Devlieghere, Anne Opsomer, Patrick Kolsteren & Johan Debevere.

"Hygienic status and biogenic amine content of mung bean sprouts. Z. Lebensm. Unters. Forsch. A 207:97-100, 1998, F. Skowronek, L. Simon-Sarkadi and W.H. Holzapfel

"Identification of Soybean Sprout Rot Pathogens, Korean Society of Plant Pathology", 2000 International Conference on Plant Disease Forcast:  Information Technology in Plant Pathology, H.N. BAE, C.K. Lim, and J.H. Hur. Division of Biological Environment, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Kangwon National University, Chunchon 200-701, Korea.

"Interactions of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium and Listeria Monocytogenes Plants Cultivated in a Gnotobiotic System"
Int J Food Microbiol. 2005 Mar 1;99(1):7-18. Jablasone J, Warriner K, Griffiths M.

"Interaction of Escherichia coli with growing salad spinach plants." J Food Prot. 2003 Oct;66(10):1790-7. Warriner K, Ibrahim F, Dickinson M, Wright C, Waites WM.

"Interaction of Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Typhimurium and mung bean (Phaseolus aureus) plants" J Food Prot, March 1, 2005; 68(3): 476-81. BR Singh, M Chandra, and R Agarwal, National Salmonella Centre (Vet), Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar 243 122, India.  

"Internalisation of human pathogens within growing salad vegetables" (2003a), Rev Mol Biol Biotechnol (20), 117-134. Warriner K, Ibrahim F, Dickinson M, Wright C and Waites W M.

"Isolation of Cyclospora oocysts from fruits and vegetables using lectin-coated paramagnetic beads" J Food Prot. 2000 Oct;63(10):1410-4
Robertson LJ, Gjerde B, Campbell AT.

"Investigation of pathogenic bacteria in sprouted seed products." De Ware(n)-Chemicus 2000;30:151-8. Speek AJ. [in Dutch]

"Kinetics and Strain Specificity of Rhizosphere and Endophytic Colonization by Enteric Bacteria on Seedlings of Medicago sativa and Medicago truncatula", Appl Environ Microbiol 2003, Mar;69(3):1783-90, Dong Y, Iniguez AL, Ahmer BM, Triplett EW.

"Klebsiella and other bacteria on alfalfa and bean sprouts at the retail level",  J. Food Sci.45:492-495., Patterson, J. E., and M. J. Woodburn. 1980.

"Listeria Monocytogenes Colonization of Sprouts" Lisa Gorski*,

Kimanh D. Nguyen, Jessica Duhe, and Jeffrey D. Palumbo, USDA, ARS, WRRC, Albany, CA.  USDA website accessed July 8, 2008.

"Microbial Evaluation of Selected Fresh Produce Obtained at Retail Markets", Journal of Food Protection: Vol. 65, No. 4, pp. 677-682, Richard L. Thunberg, Tony Tl Tran, Reginald W. Bennett, Roger N. Matthews, and Negash Belay, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Washington, D.C. 20204, USA.

"Microbial hazards associated with bean sprouting", J Assoc Off Anal Chem 1982 Mar;65(2):241-8, Andrews WH, Mislivec PB, Wilson CR, Bruce VR, Poelma PL, Gibson R, Trucksess MW, Young K.

"Microbial hazards related to rice sprouting" International Journal of Food Science & Technology, Volume 32 Issue 1 Page 33  - February 1997, doi:10.1046/j.1365-2621.1997.00376.x, Valerie Piernas & Joseph P. Guiraud

"Microbial profiles of on-line-procured sprouting seeds and potential hazards associated with enterotoxigenic Bacillus spp. In homegrown sprouts" August, 2005, Journal of Food Protection: Volume 68, Number 8, Page 1648-1653, S. Pao,a M. F. Khalid, and A. Kalantari, Virginia State University, Agricultural Research Station, P.O. Box 9061, Petersburg, Virginia 23806, USA.

"Microbiological evaluation of sprouts marketed in Mumbai, India, and its suburbs"  J Food Prot. 2006 Oct;69(10):2515-8. Saroj SD, Shashidhar R, Dhokane V, Hajare S, Sharma A, Bandekar JR. Food Technology Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai 400 085, India. 

"Microbiological examination of vegetable seed sprouts in Korea." J Food Prot. 2009 Apr;72(4):856-9. Kim H, Lee Y, Beuchat LR, Yoon BJ, Ryu JH. Division of Human Environmental Science and Institute of Biotechnology, Wonkwang University, 344-2 Shinyong-dong, Iksan, Jeonbuk 570-749, Republic of Korea.

"Microbiological hazards associated with sprouted seeds" Food Safety & Hygiene, A bulletin for the Australian food industry, March 2005.

"Microbiological quality of fresh, minimally-processed fruit and vegetables, and sprouts from retail establishments." Int J Food Microbiol. 2008 Jan 29. Abadias M, Usall J, Anguera M, Solsona C, Viñas I. IRTA, Centre UdL-IRTA, XaRTA-Postharvest, 191 Rovira Roure, 25198-Lleida, Catalonia, Spain.

Microbiological risk of prepacked sprouts and measures to reduce total counts. B. Becker and W. H. Holzapfel 1997, Arch. Lebensmittelhygiene 48:81-84

"Microbiological safety evaluations and recommendations on sprouted seeds.",  National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods. Int J Food Microbiol 1999 Nov 15;52(3):123-53.

"Microbiological Safety of Sprouted Seed Production", Chapter 4 of

Code of Practice Number 4.,Code of Practice for Food Safety in the Fresh Produce Supply Chain in Ireland, Food Safety Authority of Ireland. Abbey Court, Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1. 2001.  ISBN 0-9539183-4-3.

"Occurrence of antibiotic-resistant enterobacteria in agricultural foodstuffs" Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 2004, 48, 522 - 531, Sybille Boehme*, Guido Werner, Ingo Klare, Rolf Reissbrodt and Wolfgang Witte, Robert Koch Institute, Wernigerode Branch, Wernigerode, Germany

"The polysaccharides cellulose, poly-ss-1,6-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, and colanic acid are required for optimal binding of E. coli O157:H7 strains to alfalfa sprouts and K12 strains to plastic but not for binding to epithelial cells." Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 Feb 29. Matthysse AG, Deora R, Mishra M, Torres AG.

"Potential hazard of radish sprout as a vehicle of Escherichia coli O157:H7",  Hara-Kudo Y, Iwaki M, Kasuga F, Sugita-Konishi Y, and Kumagai S. 1997. J. Food Prot. 60:1125-1127.

"Prevalence and growth of pathogens on salad vegetables, fruits and sprouts.", Int J Hyg Environ Health 2001 Mar;203(3):205-13, Viswanathan P, Kaur R., Department of Microbiology, G.N. Khalsa College, Matunga, Mumba-400019, India.

"Produce Safety and Microbiological Research", Western Regional Research Center, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Albany, California 94710, Accepted 4 July 2002

"Recent trends in microbiological safety of fruits and vegetables" Online. Plant Health Progress doi:10.1094/PHP-2003-0121-01-RV.Buck, J. W., Walcott, R. R., Beuchat, L. R. 2003.

"Reducing Human Pathogenic Microorganisms in Sprouts," Larry Beuchat, Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement, 08/6-9/1998.

"Research Note: Incidence of Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, Escherichia coli O157, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes in Retail Fresh Ground Beef, Sprouts, and Mushrooms" Journal of Food Protection: Vol. 69, No. 2, pp. 441-443.

"Review of the microbiological risks associated with sprouted seeds" CCFRA Review No. 41 (2004), Nikki Beales, Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association Group, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, GL55 6LD UK.

"Risk profile for Enterohemorragic E. coli including the identification of the commodities of concern, including sprouts, ground beef and pork" CAC (Codex Alimentarius Commission), 2002. CAC/CX/FH/03/5-add 4, September 2002, Agenda item 5d).

"Salmonella enterica Virulence Genes Are Required for Bacterial Attachment to Plant Tissue" Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005 Oct;71(10):5685-91. Barak JD, Gorski L, Naraghi-Arani P, Charkowski AO.

"Salmonella in alfalfa sprouts.", Lancet 1995 Feb 18;345(8947):462-3, Ponka A, Andersson Y, Siitonen A, de Jong B, Jahkola M, Haikala O, Kuhmonen A, Pakkala P.

"Seedborne diseases and their control" Book by R. B. Maude. Published by CAB International, Wallingford, Oxon, United Kingdom. ISBN: 0-85198-922-5. 280 pages.

 "Source of Klebsiella pneumoniae in alfalfa seeds and bean sprouts".  Abstracts of papers presented at 25th CIFST Conference May 29-June 1. Can Inst. Food Sci. Technol., J., 16(3), XVI, Park, C.E., Stankiewicz, Z.K., and Weiss, K. 1983.

"Source of Klebsiella pneumoniae in Alfalfa and Mung Bean Sprouts and Attempts to Reduce Its Occurrence," Park, Sanders, Can. Inst Food Sci Technol., Vol 23, No 4/5, 1990.

"Sprouts linked to E. coli, salmonella.", Mayo Clin Health Lett 2002 Feb;20(2):4

"Strain-Specific Differences in the Attachment of Listeria Monocytogenes to Alfalfa Sprouts" November 2004, Journal of Food Protection Volume 67 Number 11 p. 2488-2495, Lisa Gorski,a Jeffrey D. Palumbo,a and Kimanh D. Nguyena

"Survival and growth of Listeria species in a model ready-to-use vegetable product containing raw and cooked ingredients as affected by storage temperature and acidification", Christopher Thomas*, Olive Prior & David O'Beirne, Food Science Research Centre, Department of Life Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland, International Journal of Food Science and Technology 1999, 34, 317-324

"Survival and Growth of Vibrio cholerae O1, Salmonella typhi, and Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Alfalfa Sprouts", Journal of Food Science, Vol 65. #1 2000, J. Castro-Rosas and E.F. Escartin.

"The microbiology of vegetable sprouts during commercial production". 1983. J. Food Safety 5:79-86. Splittstoesser, D.F., D.T. Queale and B.W. Andaloro.

"The use of flagella and motility for plant colonization and fitness by different strains of the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes." PLoS One. 2009;4(4):e5142. Epub 2009 Apr 9, Gorski L, Duhé JM, Flaherty D.

"Xylem-residing bacteria in alfalfa roots"  Gagne, S., C. Richard, H. Rousseau, and H. Antoun. 1987, Can. J. Microbiol. 33:996-1000.

For additional information on sprout food safety, see see our Sprout Industry Online Resources page.