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Rev Biol Trop. 1994 Dec;42(3):487-92.

Extinction of Vibrio cholerae in acidic substrata: contaminated cabbage and lettuce treated with lime juice.

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  • 1Sección de Infección-Nutrición, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro.


Lime juice killed millions of Vibrio cholerae O1, El Tor, Inaba, present on cabbage and lettuce contaminated in the laboratory. The lethal effect was evident within 5 min of exposure to lime juice. No vibrios could be recovered at dilution 1:10 using alkaline peptone water (APW) and thiosulfate-citrate-bile salts-saccharose agar (TCBS). More than 99.9% of the initial inoculum was effectively destroyed. The number of vibrios killed by lime juice was 2 to 6 logarithms greater than the maximum infecting dose, and 4 to 8 logs greater than the minimum infecting dose for cholera El Tor. The time interval needed for killing was smaller than the usual waiting time for serving food in homes and restaurants. The addition of lime juice to non-acidic foods, beverages and water, is strongly recommended to prevent infection with cholera vibrios and other acid-sensitive microorganisms. This measure is particularly important for rural and slum populations in the tropics and subtropics.

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