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Int J Food Microbiol. 2006 Jan 15;106(1):61-8. Epub 2005 Oct 12.

Migration of Caenorhabditis elegans to manure and manure compost and potential for transport of Salmonella newport to fruits and vegetables.

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1
Center for Food Safety and Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223-1797, USA.

Abstract

A study was done to determine if a free-living, bacterivorous nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, migrates to bovine manure, turkey manure, composted bovine manure, composted turkey manure, and manure-amended soil inoculated with Salmonella Newport. Movement of the worm to lettuce, strawberries, and carrots was also studied. C. elegans moved most rapidly to turkey manure and strawberries, with 35% and 60% of worms, respectively, associating with samples within 30 min. Survival and reproduction of C. elegans in test materials were not affected by the presence of S. newport. Bovine manure and bovine manure compost inoculated with S. newport (8.6 log10 CFU/g) were separately placed in the bottom of a glass jar and covered with a layer of soil (5 cm) inoculated (50 worms/g) or not inoculated with C. elegans. A piece of lettuce, strawberry, or carrot was placed on top of the soil before jars were sealed and held at 20 degrees C for up to 10 days. In the system using soil inoculated with C. elegans, S. newport initially in bovine manure was detected on the surface of lettuce, strawberry, and carrot samples within 3, 1, and 1 days, respectively. The pathogen was detected on lettuce, strawberry, and carrot within 1, 7, and 1 days, respectively, when initially present in bovine manure compost. With one exception, the pathogen was not detected on the produce over the 10-day incubation period when C. elegans was not present in the soil. Results indicate that C. elegans has the potential for transporting S. newport in soil to the surface of preharvest fruits and vegetables in contact with soil.

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