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Attachment and Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 on In-Shell Hazelnuts

Department of Animal Science, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1122; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061122
Received: 7 May 2018 / Revised: 26 May 2018 / Accepted: 28 May 2018 / Published: 30 May 2018
The multistate Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 outbreak associated with in-shell hazelnuts highlights the pathogen’s ability to involve non-traditional vehicles in foodborne infections. Furthermore, it underscores significant gaps in our knowledge of pathogen survivability and persistence on nuts. Therefore, this study investigated the ability of E. coli O157:H7 to attach and survive on in-shell hazelnuts. In-shell hazelnuts were inoculated with a four-strain mixture of E. coli O157:H7 at 7.6 log colony forming units (CFU)/nut by wet or dry inoculation, stored at ambient conditions (24 ± 1 °C; 40% ± 3% relative humidity (RH) and sampled for twelve months. For the attachment assay, in-shell hazelnuts were inoculated and the adherent population was enumerated at 30 s−1 h following inoculation. Irrespective of the inoculation method, ~5 log CFU of adherent E. coli O157:H7 was recovered from the hazelnuts as early as 30 s after inoculation. Conversely, pathogen survival was significantly reduced under dry inoculation with samples being enrichment negative after five months of storage (p < 0.05). On the other hand, wet inoculation led to a significantly longer persistence of the pathogen with ~3 log CFU being recovered from the in-shell nuts at 12 months of storage (p < 0.05). These results indicate that E. coli O157:H7 can survive in significant numbers on in-shell hazelnuts when stored under ambient conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: Escherichia coli O157:H7; in-shell hazel nuts; attachment; survival; gene expression; wet inoculation; dry inoculation Escherichia coli O157:H7; in-shell hazel nuts; attachment; survival; gene expression; wet inoculation; dry inoculation
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Feng, L.; Muyyarikkandy, M.S.; Brown, S.R.B.; Amalaradjou, M.A. Attachment and Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 on In-Shell Hazelnuts. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1122.

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