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Journal: Journal of food protection


We evaluated the effects of storage and handling conditions on the antimicrobial activity of biodegradable composite films (polylactic acid and sugar beet pulp) coated with allyl isothiocyanate (AIT). Polylactic acid and chitosan were incorporated with AIT and used to coat one side of the film. The films were subjected to different storage conditions (storage time, storage temperature, and packed or unpacked) and handling conditions (washing, abrasion, and air blowing), and the antimicrobial activity of the films against Salmonella Stanley in tryptic soy broth was determined. The films (8.16 μl of AIT per cm(2) of surface area) significantly (P < 0.05) inhibited the growth of Salmonella during 24 h of incubation at 22°C, while the populations of Salmonella in controls increased from ca. 4 to over 8 log CFU/ml, indicating a minimum inactivation of 4 log CFU/ml on films in comparison to the growth on controls. Statistical analyses indicated that storage time, storage temperature, and surface abrasion affected the antimicrobial activity of the films significantly (P < 0.05). However, the differences in microbial reduction between those conditions were less than 0.5 log cycle. The results suggest that the films' antimicrobial properties are stable under practical storage and handling conditions and that these antimicrobial films have potential applications in food packaging.

Concepts: PH, Lactic acid, Sugar, Antimicrobial, Sugar beet, Bioplastic, Thermoplastic, Polylactic acid


The usefulness of electron beam (E-beam) irradiation to increase the shelf life of whole fresh pork loin stored at 4°C has been studied. The shelf life was extended from 5 to 11 and 20 days after the application of 1 and 2 kGy, respectively. If a temperature abuse situation were to occur during product distribution (e.g., increase to 8°C), the shelf life would be extended from 3 to 8 and 15 days, respectively, after application of the same doses. When considering Listeria monocytogenes from a public health point of view, the irradiated whole fresh loin may be marketable for periods longer than 2 weeks, thus guaranteeing a practically Listeria-free product. Irradiation produced no important changes in the rheological characteristics of the meat. Although the sensory quality of irradiated meat was scored lower than the control immediately after irradiation, after 5 days in storage, irradiated meat scored higher than or not different from the control.

Concepts: Listeria monocytogenes, Shelf life


Acrylamide (AA) contents in 294 snack foods including cereal-based, root- and tuber-based, and seafood-based foods, nuts, dried beans, and dried fruits purchased in Taiwan were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in this study. The highest levels of average AA content were found in root- and tuber-based snack foods (435 μg/kg), followed by cereal-based snack foods (299 μg/kg). Rice flour-based, seafood-based, and dried fruit snack foods had the lowest average AA content (<50 μg/kg). This is the first large surveillance of AA content in snack foods in Taiwan. The results could provide important data regarding intake information from the snack foods. In addition, the results showed a great diversity of AA content in snack foods prepared from different ingredients. Rice- and seafood-based products had much lower AA than those made from other ingredients. This information could constitute a good reference for consumers to select products for healthy snacking.

Concepts: Fruit, Vegetable, Snack foods, Dried fruit, Snack food, Nut, Meal


Consumption of foods high in biogenic amines leads to an illness known as histamine, or scombrotoxin, poisoning. The illness is commonly associated with consumption of fish with high levels of histamine ( $ 500 ppm). The objective of this study was to determine and compare the heat resistance of five histamine-producing bacteria in irradiated albacore tuna loins. Heat-resistance parameters (D- and z-values) were determined for Morganella morganii, Raoultella planticola, Hafnia alvei, and Enterobacter aerogenes. D- or z-values were not determined for Photobacterium damselae, which was the most heat-sensitive organism in this study. P. damselae declined > 5.9 log CFU/g after a heat treatment of 50°C for 10 min, 54°C for 3 min, and 56°C for 0.5 min. M. morganii was the most heat-resistant histamine-producing bacteria in albacore tuna loins, followed by E. aerogenes, H. alvei, and R. planticola. M. morganii and E. aerogenes had the highest D50°C, 49.7 ± 17.57 and 51.8 ± 17.38 min, respectively. In addition, M. morganii had the highest D-values for all other temperatures (54, 56, and 58°C) tested. D- and zvalues were also determined for M. morganii in skipjack tuna. While no significant (P > 0.05) difference was observed between D54°C and D56°C of M. morganii in either albacore or skipjack tuna, the D58°C (0.4 ± 0.17 min) was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in skipjack than in albacore (0.9 ± 0.24 min). The z-values for all organisms tested were in the range of 3.2 to 3.8°C. This study suggests that heat treatment designed to control M. morganii in tuna loins is sufficient for controlling histamine-producing bacteria in canned-tuna processing environments.

Concepts: Organism, Histamine, Biogenic amine, Commercial fish, Tuna, Scombridae, Yellowfin tuna, Albacore


Eggs or egg-based foods, either raw or undercooked, have been identified as vehicles of Salmonella outbreaks. The low numbers of Salmonella organisms in eggs makes it difficult to detect them in frequency studies. The nested-PCR (n-PCR) technique shows more sensitivity and specificity than bacteriological culture methods (BCMs). A preenrichment method followed by enrichment and n-PCR is a good alternative for the investigation of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in eggs. A total of 2,650 chicken eggs representing five commercial brands were purchased from 10 grocery stores. Ten eggs of each brand were combined in order to obtain 265 pooled samples (53 per brand). The shells and yolks of 100 pooled samples were analyzed for Salmonella, while the shells of 65 pooled samples were analyzed for L. monocytogenes, using BCM and a combined method of enrichment and n-PCR (CM-n-PCR). Sixteen eggshell pooled samples tested positive for Salmonella by CM-n-PCR, compared with only two by BCM. Three egg yolk pooled samples tested positive for this pathogen by CM-n-PCR; none tested positive by BCM. Three eggshell pooled samples tested positive for L. monocytogenes by CM-n-PCR and none by BCM. In Mexico, as in other countries, official methods for detection of Salmonella and L. monocytogenes in foods are based on standard bacteriological culture techniques. The inclusion of more sensitive methods such as the one used in the present investigation would increase the probability of detecting positive samples, particularly in those foods in which a very low number of cells is expected.

Concepts: Egg, Type I and type II errors, Sensitivity and specificity, Chicken, Lutein, Listeria monocytogenes, Egg white, Egg yolk


A simple immunoenzymatic enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) colony check (ECC) assay was developed for the presumptive identification of priority EHEC colonies isolated on plating media from enrichment broth cultures of foods. With this approach, lipopolysaccharide extracted from a colony is spotted on the grid of a polymyxin-coated polyester cloth strip, and bound E. coli serogroup O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145, and O157 antigens are subsequently detected by sequential reactions with a pool of commercially available peroxidase-conjugated goat antibodies and tetramethylbenzidine substrate solution. Each strip can accommodate up to 15 colonies, and test results are available within 30 min. Assay performance was verified using colonies from a total of 73 target EHEC isolates covering the range of designated priority serogroups (all of which were reactive), 41 nontarget E. coli isolates including several nontarget Shiga toxin-producing E. coli serogroups (all unreactive), and 33 non-E. coli strains (all unreactive except two bacterial strains possessing O-antigenic structures in common with those of the priority EHEC). The ECC assay was reactive with target colonies grown on several types of selective and nonselective plating media designed for their cultivation. These results support the use of the ECC assay for high-throughput screening of colonies isolated on plating media for detecting priority EHEC strains in foods.

Concepts: Bacteria, Escherichia coli, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Shiga toxin, Diarrhea, Foodborne illness, Enterohemorrhagic, The Grid


High-quality fish oil for human consumption requires low levels of toxic elements. The aim of this study was to compare different oil extraction methods to identify the most efficient method for extracting fish oil of high quality with the least contamination. The methods used in this study were Soxhlet extraction, enzymatic extraction, wet reduction, and supercritical fluid extraction. The results showed that toxic elements in fish oil could be reduced using supercritical CO2 at a modest temperature (60°C) and pressure (35 MPa) with little reduction in the oil yield. There were significant reductions in mercury (85 to 100%), cadmium (97 to 100%), and lead (100%) content of the fish oil extracted using the supercritical fluid extraction method. The fish oil extracted using conventional methods contained toxic elements at levels much higher than the accepted limits of 0.1 μg/g.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Redox, Carbon, Liquid, Critical point, Supercritical fluid, Supercritical fluid extraction, Extraction


In this study, the effectiveness of pullulan (a fungal polysaccharide) film containing oregano essential oil (OEO) at 1.0 to 10.0% was evaluated against bacteria, yeasts, and molds. The quality of the sprouts, as determined by weight loss, color, and appearance, was monitored during storage at 2 and 16°C. An organoleptic evaluation of odor preference and odor acceptability of OEO on the Brussels sprouts was also conducted. The antimicrobial activity of pullulan films with OEO increased significantly with the increase in OEO concentration (1 to 10%). Pullulan films with OEO were more effective for inhibiting the growth of yeasts and molds than for inhibiting gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Pullulan with 1.0% OEO was an effective combination and was used subsequently as the base coating for maintaining the safety and quality of fresh Brussels sprouts stored at 16°C for 14 days. The pullulan coating containing 1.0% OEO reduced Aspergillus niger populations by 2 log CFU/g. This coating also reduced weight loss in the sprouts. Compared with uncoated Brussels sprouts, the percent weight loss after 14 days was reduced in samples coated with pullulan and with pullulan plus 1% OEO by 3.81 and 6.06%, respectively, after storage at 2°C and by 8.04 and 9.30%, respectively, after storage 16°C. The coating also significantly reduced changes in general appearance and color during storage. Evaluation of the organoleptic properties indicated that pullulan containing OEO had only a slight detrimental effect on odor properties. Incorporating OEO into a delivery system for antimicrobial compounds in pullulan coatings extended the microbiological shelf life of Brussels sprouts.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Effectiveness, Yeast, Coating, Aspergillus, Gram-negative bacteria, Gram-positive bacteria


Fifty-six foods and food ingredients were analyzed for populations of naturally occurring yeasts and molds using Petrifilm rapid yeast and mold (RYM) count plates, Petrifilm yeast and mold (YM) count plates, dichloran rose bengal chloramphenicol (DRBC) agar plates, acidified potato dextrose agar (APDA) plates, and dichloran 18% glycerol (DG18) agar plates. Colonies were counted after incubating plates for 48, 72, and 120 h at 25°C. Of 56 foods in which either yeasts or molds were detected on at least one medium incubated for 120 h, neither yeasts nor molds were detected in 55.4, 73.2, 21.4, 19.6, and 71.4% of foods plated on the five respective media and incubated for 48 h; 10.7, 14.3, 3.6, 1.8, and 19.6% of foods were negative after 72 h, and 3.6, 1.8, 0, 0, and 0% of foods were negative after 120 h. Considering all enumeration media, correlation coefficients were 0.03 to 0.97 at 48 h of incubation; these values increased to 0.75 to 0.99 at 120 h. Coefficients of variation for total yeasts and molds were as high as 30.0, 30.8, and 27.2% at 48, 72, and 120 h, respectively. The general order of performance was DRBC = APDA > RYM Petrifilm > YM Petrifilm ≥ DG18 when plates were incubated for 48 h, DRBC > APDA > RYM Petrifilm > YM Petrifilm ≥ DG18 when plates were incubated for 72 h, and DRBC > APDA > RYM Petrifilm > YM Petrifilm > DG18 when plates were incubated for 120 h. Differences in performance among media are attributed to the diversity of yeasts and molds likely to be present in test foods and differences in nutrient, pH, and water activity requirements for resuscitation of stressed cells and colony development.

Concepts: Ethanol, Yeast, Harshad number, Ascomycota, Bread, Cheese, Growth medium, Mold


Listeria monocytogenes has been implicated in a number of outbreaks involving fresh produce, including an outbreak in 2016 resulting from contaminated packaged salads. The persistence and internalization potential of L. monocytogenes in romaine lettuce was evaluated, and the persistence of two L. monocytogenes strains was assessed on three romaine lettuce cultivars. Seeds were germinated, and plants grown in three soil types (i.e., standard potting mix, autoclaved potting mix, and top soil) and sterile soft-top agar for up to 21 days. Average CFU per gram of L. monocytogenes on seeds and plants was calculated from five replicates per harvest day. Up to 8.2 log CFU/g L. monocytogenes persisted on romaine lettuce plants (Braveheart cultivar) grown in soft-top agar, while those grown in commercial potting mix (initial soil aerobic plate count of 4.0 × 10(4) CFU/g) had a final concentration of 5.4 log CFU/g, and autoclaved commercial potting mix had a final concentration of 3.8 ± 0.2 log CFU/g after a 21-day period. Pathogen levels dropped below the limit of detection (2 log CFU/g) by day 18 in 75% topsoil (initial soil aerobic plate count of 4.0 × 10(1) CFU/g); this did not occur in sterile media. Although L. monocytogenes strain differences and presence of a clay coating on seeds did not affect persistence, differences were observed in L. monocytogenes growth and survival among cultivars. To assess internalization, seeds were inoculated with L. monocytogenes expressing green fluorescent protein. Three plants were fixed, paraffin embedded, and sectioned; localization was studied by using standard immunohistochemistry techniques. A total of 539 internalized L. monocytogenes cells were visualized among three 20-day seedlings. L. monocytogenes cells were located in all major tissue types (pith followed by cortex, xylem, phloem, and epidermis). The presence of L. monocytogenes in the plant vasculature suggests potential for transport throughout the plant into edible tissue.

Concepts: Plant, Soil, Seed, Listeria monocytogenes, Listeria, Listeriosis, Lettuce, Romaine lettuce