Effectiveness of a bacteriophage in reducing Listeria monocytogenes on fresh-cut fruits and fruit juices.
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Listeria monocytogenes is a serious foodborne pathogen and new strategies to control it in food are needed. Among them, bacteriophages hold attributes that appear to be attractive. The objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of the bacteriophage Listex P100 to control L. monocytogenes growth on melon, pear and apple products (juices and slices) stored at 10 °C. L. monocytogenes grew well in untreated fruit slices. In juices, the pathogen grew in untreated melon, survived in untreated pear and decreased in untreated apple. Phage treatment was more effective on melon followed by pear, but no effect on apple products was observed. Reductions of about 1.50 and 1.00 log cfu plug−1 for melon and pear slices were found, respectively. In juices, higher reductions were obtained in melon (8.00 log cfu mL−1) followed by pear (2.10 log cfu mL−1) after 8 days of storage. L. monocytogenes in apple juice was unaffected by phage treatment in which the phage decreased to almost undetectable numbers. These results highlight that Listex P100 could avoid pathogen growth on fresh-cut and in fruit juices with high pH during storage at 10 °C. The combination with other technologies may be required to improve the phage application on high acidity fruits.