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J Food Prot. 2001 Apr;64(4):442-50.

Evaluation of volatile chemical treatments for lethality to Salmonella on alfalfa seeds and sprouts.

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  • 1Center for Food Safety, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia, Griffin 30223-1797, USA.


A study was done to evaluate natural volatile compounds for their ability to kill Salmonella on alfalfa seeds and sprouts. Acetic acid, allyl isothiocyanate (AIT), trans-anethole, carvacrol, cinnamic aldehyde, eugenol, linalool, methyl jasmonate, and thymol were examined for inhibitory and lethal activity against Salmonella by exposing inoculated alfalfa seeds to compounds (1,000 mg/liter of air) for 1, 3, and 7 h at 60 degrees C. Only acetic acid, cinnamic aldehyde, and thymol caused significant reductions in Salmonella populations (>3 log10 CFU/g) compared with the control (1.9 log10 CFU/g) after treatment for 7 h. Treatment of seeds at 50 degrees C for 12 h with acetic acid (100 and 300 mg/liter of air) and thymol or cinnamic aldehyde (600 mg/liter of air) significantly reduced Salmonella populations on seeds (>1.7 log10 CFU/g) without affecting germination percentage. Treatment of seeds at 50 degrees C with AIT (100 and 300 mg/liter of air) and cinnamic aldehyde or thymol (200 mg/liter of air) did not significantly reduce populations compared with the control. Seed germination percentage was largely unaffected by treatment with gaseous acetic acid, AIT, cinnamic aldehyde, or thymol for up to 12 h at 50 degrees C. The number of Salmonella on seeds treated at 70 degrees C for 80 min with acetic acid (100 and 300 mg/liter of air), AIT (100 mg/liter of air), and cinnamic aldehyde and thymol (600 mg/liter of air) at water activity (a(w)) 0.66 was not significantly different than the number inactivated on seeds at a(w) 0.49. Acetic acid at 200 and 500 mg/liter of air reduced an initial population of 7.50 log10 CFU/g of alfalfa sprouts by 2.33 and 5.72 log10 CFU/g, respectively, within 4 days at 10 degrees C. whereas AIT at 200 and 500 mg/liter of air reduced populations to undetectable levels; however, both treatments caused deterioration in sensory quality. Treatment of sprouts with 1 or 2 mg of AIT per liter of air adversely affected sensory quality but did not reduce Salmonella populations after 11 days of exposure at 10 degrees C.

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