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Impact of changes in sugar exudate created by biological damage to tomato plants on the persistence of Escherichia coli O157:H7.

Authors
  • Aruscavage, Daniel
  • Phelan, P Larry
  • Lee, Ken
  • LeJeune, Jeffrey T
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Food Science
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
May 01, 2010
Volume
75
Issue
4
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01593.x
PMID: 20546408
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The survival of enteric pathogens on vegetable leaves improves due to presence of phytopathogens. Phytopathogen damage alters the microenvironment on the leaf surface. The objective of this study was to identify differences in sugar concentrations in tomato leaves damaged by biotropic plant pathogens and determine if these differences affect Escherichia coli O157:H7 survival. E. coli O157:H7 survived better on tomato plants damaged by Xanthomonas campestris than on healthy plants (P = 0.012). The most common sugars and sugar alcohols in the damaged leaf exudate were glucose, fructose, inositol, and sucrose. The abundance of sucrose and inositol differed between the healthy and infected plants (P < 0.05). In this study, it was found that phytopathogen damaged plants increased sugar availability on the leaf surface for E. coli O157:H7 to proliferate. Keeping plants free from biological damage can limit the amount of leaching of sugars that could allow human pathogens to proliferate. There is the possibility of increasing food safety of vegetable products by limiting phytopathogenic damage to plants.

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