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TitleEvaluation by flow cytometry of Escherichia coli viability in lettuce after disinfection
Author(s)Teixeira, Maria Pilar Araújo
Fernandes, Bruna
Silva, Ana Margarida
Dias, Nicolina Marques
Azeredo, Joana
KeywordsFlow cytometry
Viable but nonculturable cells (VBNC)
Chemical disinfection
Issue date2020
PublisherMDPI AG
CitationTeixeira, Pilar; Fernandes, B.; Silva, A.; Dias, Nicolina M.; Azeredo, Joana, Evaluation by flow cytometry of Escherichia coli viability in lettuce after disinfection. Antibiotics, 9(1), 14, 2020
Abstract(s)Foodborne outbreaks due to the consumption of ready-to-eat vegetables have increased worldwide, with Escherichia coli (E. coli) being one of the main sources responsible. Viable but nonculturable bacteria (VBNC) retain virulence even after some disinfection procedures and constitute a huge problem to public health due to their non-detectability through conventional microbiological techniques. Flow cytometry (FCM) is a promising tool in food microbiology as it enables the distinction of the different physiological states of bacteria after disinfection procedures within a short time. In this study, samples of lettuce inoculated with E. coli were subject to disinfection with sodium hypochlorite at free chlorine concentrations of 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100 mg·L1 or with 35% peracetic acid at concentrations of 5, 10, 25, and 50 mg·L1. The efficiency of these disinfectants on the viability of E. coli in lettuce was evaluated by flow cytometry with LIVE/DEAD stains. Results from this study suggest that FCM can effectively monitor cell viability. However, peracetic acid is more effective than sodium hypochlorite as, at half the concentration, it is enough to kill 100% of bacteria and always induces a lower percentage of VBNC. Finally, we can conclude that the recommended levels of chemical disinfectants for fresh fruit and vegetables are adequate when applied in lettuce. More importantly, it is possible to ensure that all cells of E. coli are dead and that there are no VBNC cells even with lower concentrations of those chemicals. These results can serve as guidance for lettuce disinfection, improving quality and the safety of consumption.
Publisher version
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:CEB - Publicações em Revistas/Séries Internacionais / Publications in International Journals/Series

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