Occurrence of selected viral and bacterial pathogens and microbiological quality of fresh and frozen strawberries sold in Spain
Colás Medà, Pilar
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Strawberry production and exports have been increasing in Spain in recent decades. However, little information is available about their microbiological quality. Due to the growing concern about the microbial safety of these fruits, the objective of this investigation was to study the microbiological
quality and the prevalence of the main foodborne pathogens on strawberries sold in Spain. Fresh (n = 152) and frozen (n = 31) samples were obtained from marketplaces and fields in 2017 and 2018. The samples were assayed for total aerobic mesophilic microorganisms (TAM), moulds and yeasts (M&Y), total coliforms (TC), Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes as well as Norovirus (NoV) GI and GII. The microbiological counts ranged from <1.70 (detection limit, dl) - 5.89 log10 CFU/g (mean 3.78 log10 CFU/g) for TAM; 2.10-5.86 log10 CFU/g (mean 3.80 log10 CFU/g) for M and <0.70 (dl) - 4.91 log10 CFU/g (mean 2.15 log10 CFU/g) for TC in fresh strawberries. In frozen strawberries, the counts were <1.70 (dl) - 3.66 log10 CFU/g (mean 2.30 log10 CFU/g) for TAM; <1.70 (dl) - 2.76 log10 CFU/g (mean 1.82 log10 CFU/g) for M and <0.70(dl) - 1.74 log10 CFU/g (mean 0.77 log10 CFU/g) for TC. All the samples in this study tested negative for Salmonella spp., L. monocytogenes. E. coli and NoV GI and GII genome. A global overview of all the data was executed using Principal Component Analysis (PCA), and the results showed that the scores and loadings according to principal components 1 (PC1) and 2 (PC2) accounted for 75.9% of the total variance, allowing a distinction between fresh and frozen samples. The presence of moulds was significantly higher in the supermarket samples whereas the presence of total coliforms was significantly higher in the field samples (p < 0.05). Although pathogenic microorganisms were not found, preventative measures and prerequisites in the strawberry production chain must be considered in order to avoid possible foodborne diseases related to the microbiological quality of the fruit.
Is part ofInternational Journal of Food Microbiology, 2020, vol. 314, p. 108392
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