Motility and Survival of Salmonella Enterica Subspecies Enterica Serovar Enteritidis in Tomato Plants (Solanum lycopersicum L).


Ana Tarín Gutiérrez-Ibáñez


Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (Facultad de Ciencias Agrícolas. Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México), Km 15 highway Toluca-Ixtlahuaca, 50200, Toluca, Mexico. [Email]


The presence of enteropathogens such as Salmonella affects the quality and safety of vegetables that are consumed in a minimally processed state. Worldwide, tomatoes are one of the main vegetables whose raw consumption has caused health alerts. As such, the aim of this study was to determine the motility and survival of Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Enteritidis on greenhouse-grown tomato plants. A completely randomized experimental design was used, and bacteria were inoculated into the substrate at the time of transplanting as well as by puncturing the plant stem, petiole, and peduncle during the vegetative, flowering, and fruiting stages. Survival was monitored throughout the production cycle; motility was evaluated separately in plant organs separated from the point of inoculation. Salmonella enteritidis survived the 120 days of the experiment both at the point of inoculation and in other organs of the tomato plant. For all treatments, there was a significant difference (P < 0.05) between bacterial counts in the root (12.45 ± 2.52 to 160 ± 4.01 CFU/g), stem (16.10 ± 2.31 to 90.55 ± 3.62 CFU/g), flower (7.0 ± 2.15 to 51.10 ± 3.80 CFU/g), and fruit (8.75 ± 2.38 to 28.2 ± 3.29 CFU/g). The results of the study indicate that Salmonella enteritidis in contact with tomato plants is a latent danger because its ability to enter, survive, and move within tomato plants until reaching the fruit, limits the effectiveness of commonly used disinfection methods, it would potentiate the risk to human health.



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