Exposure to minimally processed pear and melon during shelf life could modify the pathogenic potential of Listeria monocytogenes
Colás Medà, Pilar
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Survival and virulence of foodborne pathogens can be influenced by environmental factors such as the intrinsic properties of food as well as the extrinsic properties that contribute to food shelf life (e.g., temperature and gas atmosphere). The direct contribution of food matrix characteristics on the
survival of L. monocytogenes during fresh-cut fruit shelf life is not very well understood. In addition, the gastrointestinal tract is the primary route of listeriosis infection and penetration of the intestinal epithelial cell barrier is the first step in the infection process. Hence, the pathogenic potential of L. monocytogenes, measured as the capability for the organism to survive a simulated gastrointestinal tract and the proportion of cells able to subsequently adhere to and invade differentiated Caco-2 cells, subjected to fresh-cut pear and melon shelf life, was investigated. Samples were inoculated, stored at 10 °C for 7 days and evaluated after inoculation and again after 2 and 7 days of storage. A decrease in L. monocytogenes’ capacity to survive a simulated gastrointestinal tract was observed with increasing storage time, regardless of the fruit matrix evaluated. Furthermore, L. monocytogenes placed on fresh-cut pear and melon was subjected to an attachment and invasion assay after crossing the simulated gastrointestinal tract. After inoculation, pathogen on fresh-cut pear showed 5-fold more capacity to adhere to Caco-2 cells than pathogen on fresh-cut melon. After 2 days of storage, L. monocytogenes grown on fresh-cut melon showed similar adhesive capacity (1.11%) than cells grown on pear (1.83%), but cells grown on melon had the higher invasive capacity (0.0093%). We can conclude that minimally processed melon could represent a more important hazard than pear under the studied shelf life.