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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 Jan;68(1):397-400.

Transmission of Escherichia coli O157:H7 from contaminated manure and irrigation water to lettuce plant tissue and its subsequent internalization.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901, USA.


The transmission of Escherichia coli O157:H7 from manure-contaminated soil and irrigation water to lettuce plants was demonstrated using laser scanning confocal microscopy, epifluorescence microscopy, and recovery of viable cells from the inner tissues of plants. E. coli O157:H7 migrated to internal locations in plant tissue and was thus protected from the action of sanitizing agents by virtue of its inaccessibility. Experiments demonstrate that E. coli O157:H7 can enter the lettuce plant through the root system and migrate throughout the edible portion of the plant.

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