Effect of irrigation method on transmission to and persistence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 on lettuce

Ethan B. Solomon, Catherine J. Potenski, Karl R. Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this study, the transmission of Escherichia coli O157:H7 to lettuce plants through spray and surface irrigation was demonstrated. For all treatments combined, the number of plants testing positive following a single exposure to E. coli O157:H7 through spray irrigation (29 of 32 plants) was larger than the number testing positive following surface irrigation (6 of 32 plants). E. coli O157:H7 persisted on 9 of 11 plants for 20 days following spray irrigation with contaminated water. Immersion of harvested lettuce heads for 1 min in a 200 ppm chlorine solution did not eliminate all E. coli O157:H7 cells. The results of this study suggest that regardless of the irrigation method used, crops can become contaminated; therefore, the irrigation of food crops with water of unknown microbial quality should be avoided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-676
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of food protection
Volume65
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology

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