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Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2006;44:367-92.

Fitness of human enteric pathogens on plants and implications for food safety.

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1
Produce Safety and Microbiology Research Unit, Agricultural Research Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Albany, California 94710, USA. mbrandl@pw.usda.gov

Abstract

The continuous rise in the number of outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to fresh fruit and vegetables challenges the notion that enteric pathogens are defined mostly by their ability to colonize the intestinal habitat. This review describes the epidemiology of produce-associated outbreaks of foodborne disease and presents recently acquired knowledge about the behavior of enteric pathogens on plants, with an emphasis on Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes. The growth and survival of enteric pathogens on plants are discussed in the light of knowledge and concepts in plant microbial ecology, including epiphytic fitness, the physicochemical nature of plant surfaces, biofilm formation, and microbe-microbe and plant-microbe interactions. Information regarding the various stresses that affect the survival of enteric pathogens and the molecular events that underlie their interactions in the plant environment provides a good foundation for assessing their role in the infectious dose of the pathogens when contaminated fresh produce is the vehicle of illness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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