SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • contamination;
  • enteropathogens;
  • irrigation water;
  • phyllosphere;
  • salad vegetables

Summary

Consumption of fruit and vegetable products is commonly viewed as a potential risk factor for infection with enteropathogens such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli O157, with recent outbreaks linked to lettuce, spinach and tomatoes. Routes of contamination are varied and include application of organic wastes to agricultural land as fertilizer, contamination of waters used for irrigation with faecal material, direct contamination by livestock, wild animals and birds and postharvest issues such as worker hygiene. The ability of pathogens to survive in the field environment has been well studied, leading to the implementation of guidelines such as the Safe Sludge Matrix, which aim to limit the likelihood of viable pathogens remaining at point-of-sale. The behaviour of enteropathogens in the phyllosphere is a growing field of research, and it is suggested that inclusion in phyllosphere biofilms or internalization within the plant augments the survival. Improved knowledge of plant–microbe interactions and the interaction between epiphytic and immigrant micro-organisms on the leaf surface will lead to novel methods to limit enteropathogen survival in the phyllosphere.