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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005 May;71(5):2221-5.

Potential uptake of Escherichia coli O157:H7 from organic manure into crisphead lettuce.

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  • 1National Veterinary Institute, P.O. Box 8156 Dep, 0033 Oslo, Norway. gro.johannessen@vetinst.no

Abstract

To investigate the potential transfer of Escherichia coli O157:H7 from contaminated manure to fresh produce, lettuce seedlings were transplanted into soil fertilized with bovine manure which had been inoculated with approximately 10(4) CFU g(-1) E. coli O157:H7. The lettuce was grown for approximately 50 days in beds in climate-controlled rooms in a greenhouse. As the bacterium was not detected in the edible parts of the lettuce, the outer leaves of the lettuce, or the lettuce roots at harvest it was concluded that transmission of E. coli O157:H7 from contaminated soil to lettuce did not occur. The pathogen persisted in the soil for at least 8 weeks after fertilizing but was not detected after 12 weeks. Indigenous E. coli was detected only sporadically on the lettuce at harvest, and enterococci were not detected at all. The numbers of enterococci declined more rapidly than those of E. coli in the soil. Pseudomonas fluorescens, which inhibited growth of E. coli O157:H7 in vitro, was isolated from the rhizosphere.

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