K Ranjitha

Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, India

Title: Human pathogenic bacteria associated with fresh vegetables and advances in their control strategies


"Ranjitha K is currently working as a Scientist in Division of Post Harvest Technology, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bangalore, Karninaka. Her research interest is horticulture"


Increased consumption, larger scale production and more efficient distribution of fresh produce over the past decades have contributed to an increase in the number of illness outbreaks caused by them. Pathogen contamination of fresh produce may originate before or after harvest, but once contaminated, produce is difficult to sanitize. Pathogens of greatest current concern are Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Escherichia coli O157:H7. Contamination sources include soil, feces, irrigation water, reconstituted fungicides and insecticides, dust, insects, inadequately composted manure, wild or domestic animals and handling or storage . The prospect that some pathogens invade the vascular system of plants and establish “sub-clinical” infection needs to be better understood to enable estimation of its influence upon risk of human illness. Microbes like Salmonella spp. are now thought to be a cross - kingdom pathogen capable of interacting with plants through several metabolites. Modified atmosphere packaging and other phytobacteria influence survival and growth of these pathogens on stored fresh vegetables. Chorine is the conventionally used sanitizer in fresh vegetables, but its efficacy in controlling specific pathogens have been challenged; further, the ill effects due to chorine have been proven by various researchers. Recent studies show that chlorine dioxide, electrolyzed water, UV light, cold atmospheric plasma, hydrogen peroxide, organic acids, gamma radiation and natural antimicrobials like plant extracts or antagonistic bacteria are promising candidates for decontamination of fresh vegetables.

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