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J Food Prot. 2004 Aug;67(8):1578-84.

Potential for internalization, growth, and survival of Salmonella and Escherichia coli O157:H7 in oranges.

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US Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, College Park, Maryland 20740, USA.


Internalization potential, survival, and growth of human pathogens within oranges were investigated in a series of laboratory experiments. Submerging oranges into dye solutions at various temperature differentials was used to assess internalization potential. Conditions in which dye internalization was observed were further studied by applying Escherichia coli O157:H7 or Salmonella onto the stem scar, subjecting the oranges to a temperature differential, juicing, and measuring numbers of pathogens in the resulting juice. Pathogens for growth and survival studies were applied to or injected into simulated peel punctures. Oranges with small peel holes of selected sizes were also placed into solutions containing these pathogens. Bacterial survival was also evaluated in orange juice at 4 and 24 degrees C. Oranges internalized pathogens at a frequency of 2.5 to 3.0%, which mirrored dye internalization frequency (3.3%). Pathogens were internalized at an uptake level of 0.1 to 0.01% of the challenge applied. Bacteria grew within oranges at 24 degrees C, but not at 4 degrees C. Thirty-one percent of oranges with 0.91-mm surface holes showed pathogen uptake, whereas 2% of oranges with 0.68-mm holes showed pathogen uptake. Pathogens added to fresh orange juice and incubated at 24 degrees C declined 1 log CFU/ml within 3 days. These results suggest that internalization, survival, and growth of human bacterial pathogens can occur within oranges intended for producing unpasteurized juice.

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