There is much interest in developing effective minimal processing methodologies for fruits and vegetables that would enhance the microbial safety and not change overall acceptability. In this study, several organic acids (EDTA, nisin, sorbic acid and sodium lactate) generally regarded as safe (GRAS) were individually tested or used in combination to test inactivation of Salmonella on fresh-cut cantaloupe cubes. Fresh-cut cantaloupe cubes contaminated with Salmonella spp. at 3.3 log CFU/g were dipped in solutions containing individual compounds listed above or a combination for 3 min. Inoculated and treated fresh-cut cantaloupe pieces were stored at 5°C for 14 days or left at room temperature (~21°C) for 24 h. Bacterial populations and overall acceptability of the fresh-cut pieces based on physical appearances were investigated. Average populations of native microflora of fresh-cut cantaloupes prepared from control and water-washed cantaloupes were 2.9 log CFU/g and 2.3 log CFU/g, respectively. During fresh-cut preparation, Salmonella populations transferred from control and water-washed cantaloupe rind surfaces to the fresh-cut pieces averaged 1.4 log CFU/g and the populations on fresh-cut pieces prepared from chlorine-washed cantaloupes averaged 0.8 log CFU/g. Overall acceptability rating for these fresh-cut pieces was 10 despite the presence of Salmonella bacteria. Treatment with sodium lactate resulted in a 0.2 log reduction of Salmonella and the fresh-cut cubes had the highest overall acceptability rating (8) amongst all treated fresh-cut pieces. Bacterial populations including Salmonella spp. in fresh-cut pieces dipped in organic acid solutions declined depending on the type of acid used. Higher bacterial inactivationoccurred in fresh-cut pieces dipped in nisin-lactate-sorbate combination, but treatment resulted in a score of only 6 in overall acceptability.
Journal: Food, Agriculture and Environment (JFAE)
Online ISSN: 1459-0263
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