Potential for bacterial growth on the fresh cut tropical squash, calabaza (Curcubita moschata), during storage

Rebecca Montville, Sarah Smith, Pedro Perdomo, Peter J. Nitzsche, Donald W. Schaffner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Calabaza (Curcubita moschata) is a tropical squash which is gaining popularity as a specialty crop for agricultural producers in the Northeast United States. It is commonly marketed by being cut in half, wrapped in plastic and may be held unrefrigerated until sold. This method of display is essential for consumer acceptance, yet unrefrigerated storage means that some potential for food safety problems exists. Experiments were conducted to determine the potential for bacterial growth during storage of cut calabaza. Freshly cut calabaza contained between 1.3 and 4.7 log10CFU/g aerobic mesophiles. By 10 h, duplicate counts from some samples exceeded 4 log10 CFU/g. After 24 h of room temperature storage, total aerobic plate counts ranged from 5.2 to 7.7 log10 CFU/g. Rapid bacterial growth on cut calabaza stored at room temperature indicates that these products are highly perishable, and may be able to support the growth of pathogenic bacteria, should they be introduced during the slicing process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-166
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Food Safety
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Food Science
  • Microbiology


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