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Open AccessArticle

Agricultural and Management Practices and Bacterial Contamination in Greenhouse versus Open Field Lettuce Production

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Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Food Preservation, Department of Food Safety and Food Quality, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, Ghent B-9000, Belgium
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Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Biotechnology, Department of Industrial Biological Sciences, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University Campus Kortrijk, Graaf Karel de Goedelaan 5, Kortrijk B-8500, Belgium
3
INAGRO, Provincial Research and Advisory Center for Agriculture and Horticulture, Ieperseweg 87, Rumbeke-Beitem B-8800, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jeffrey Shaman
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 32-63; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120100032
Received: 6 October 2014 / Accepted: 11 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Determinants of Infectious Disease Transmission)
The aim of this study was to gain insight into potential differences in risk factors for microbial contamination in greenhouse versus open field lettuce production. Information was collected on sources, testing, and monitoring and if applicable, treatment of irrigation and harvest rinsing water. These data were combined with results of analysis on the levels of Escherichia coli as a fecal indicator organism and the presence of enteric bacterial pathogens on both lettuce crops and environmental samples. Enterohemorragic Escherichia coli (EHEC) PCR signals (vt1 or vt2 positive and eae positive), Campylobacter spp., and Salmonella spp. isolates were more often obtained from irrigation water sampled from open field farms (21/45, 46.7%) versus from greenhouse production (9/75, 12.0%). The open field production was shown to be more prone to fecal contamination as the number of lettuce samples and irrigation water with elevated E. coli was significantly higher. Farmers comply with generic guidelines on good agricultural practices available at the national level, but monitoring of microbial quality, and if applicable appropriateness of water treatment, or water used for irrigation or at harvest is restricted. These results indicate the need for further elaboration of specific guidelines and control measures for leafy greens with regard to microbial hazards. View Full-Text
Keywords: lettuce; water quality; primary production; pathogens; good agricultural practice lettuce; water quality; primary production; pathogens; good agricultural practice
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Holvoet, K.; Sampers, I.; Seynnaeve, M.; Jacxsens, L.; Uyttendaele, M. Agricultural and Management Practices and Bacterial Contamination in Greenhouse versus Open Field Lettuce Production. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 32-63.

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