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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1996 Jul; 62(7): 2212–2215.
PMCID: PMC168001

Efficacy of chlorine and heat treatment in killing Salmonella stanley inoculated onto alfalfa seeds and growth and survival of the pathogen during sprouting and storage.


The efficacy of chlorine and hot water treatments in killing Salmonella stanley inoculated onto alfalfa seeds was determined. Treatment of seeds containing 10(2) to 10(3) CFU/g in 100-micrograms/ml active chlorine solution for 5 or 10 min caused a significant (P < or = 0.05) reduction in population, and treatment in 290-micrograms/ml chlorine solution resulted in a significant reduction compared with treatment in 100 micrograms of chlorine per ml. However, concentrations of chlorine of up to 1,010 micrograms/ml failed to result in further significant reductions. Treatment of seeds containing 10(1) to 10(2) CFU of S. stanley per g for 5 min in a solution containing 2,040 micrograms of chlorine per ml reduced the population to undetectable levels (< 1 CFU/g). Treatment of seeds in water for 5 or 10 min at 54 degrees C caused a significant reduction in the S. stanley population, and treatment at > or = 57 degrees C reduced populations to < or = 1 CFU/g. However, treatment at > or = 54 degrees C for 10 min caused a substantial reduction in viability of the seeds. Treatment at 57 or 60 degrees C for 5 min appears to be effective in killing S. stanley without substantially decreasing germinability of seeds. Storage of seeds for 8 to 9 weeks at 8 and 21 degrees C resulted in reductions in populations of S. stanley of about 1 log10 and 2 log10 CFU/g, respectively. The behavior of S. stanley on seeds during soaking germination, sprouting, and refrigerated storage of sprouts was determined. An initial population of 3.29 log10 CFU/g increased slightly during 6 h of soaking, by about 10(3) CFU/g during a 24-h germination period, and by an additional 10 CFU/g during a 72-h sprouting stage. A population of 10(7) CFU/g of mature alfalfa sprouts was detected throughout a subsequent 10-day storage period at 5 degrees C. These studies indicate that while populations of S. stanley can be greatly reduced, elimination of this organism from alfalfa seeds may not be reliably achieved with traditional disinfection procedures. If S. stanley is present on seeds at the initiation of the sprout production process, populations exceeding 10(7) CFU/g can develop and survive on mature sprouts exposed to handling practices used in commercial production and marketing.

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Selected References

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