- Bartz, Jerry; Teplitski, Max
- University of Florida
- Start date
- End date
- Recent multi-state outbreaks of vegetable-borne gastrointestinal illnesses demonstrate that
human pathogens can contaminate produce at any stage of production. The fact that the
outbreaks have been sporadic and the uncertainty regarding sources and routes of
contamination argue for the possibility that some event(s) during the production cycle make
vegetables more susceptible to contamination from environmental sources of pathogens.
We hypothesize that irrigation-determined physical properties of tomatoes and peppers (fruit wetness, fruit water congestion, etc) may make them more vulnerable to contamination from various environmental sources, including transfer from rubber gloves or wiping cloths. Fruit wetness and fruit water congestion also increase susceptibility of vegetables to plant pathogens, and the association with plant pathogens has been well-documented to promote growth of Salmonella in vegetables.
The overall goal of this project is to test how irrigation determined physical properties of tomatoes and peppers affect vulnerability of produce to infections by Salmonella.
Upon completion of this project, we expect to have defined an optimal irrigation regime under which yields are maintained, yet the vulnerability of produce to contamination and proliferation of Salmonella are reduced. Following a successful completion of the first two production seasons, a full scale on-farm demonstration will be carried out.
- Funding Source
- Center for Produce Safety
- Project source
- View this project
- Project number
- Bacterial Pathogens