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J Food Prot. 2013 Aug;76(8):1350-8. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-12-439.

Microbiota on spoiled vegetables and their characterization.

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Division of Microbial Safety, National Academy of Agricultural Science, Rural Development Administration, Suwon 441-707, Republic of Korea.


Spoilage causes vegetables to deteriorate and develop unpleasant characteristics. Approximately 30 % of fresh vegetables are lost to spoilage, mainly due to colonization by bacteria. In the present study, a total of 44 bacterial isolates were obtained from a number of spoiled vegetables. The isolates were identified and classified into 20 different species of 14 genera based on fatty acid composition, biochemical tests, and 16S rDNA sequence analyses. Pseudomonas spp. were the species most frequently isolated from the spoiled vegetables. To evaluate the spoilage ability of each species, a variety of fresh vegetables were treated with each isolate and their degree of maceration was observed. In addition, the production of plant cell wall-degrading enzymes (PCWDEs), such as cellulase, xylanase, pectate lyase, and polygalacturonase, was compared among isolates to investigate their potential associations with spoilage. Strains that produce more PCWDEs cause spoilage on more diverse plants, and pectinase may be the most important enzyme among PCWDEs for vegetable spoilage. Most gram-negative spoilage bacteria produced acylated homoserine lactone, a quorum-sensing signal molecule, suggesting that it may be possible to use this compound effectively to prevent or slow down the spoilage of vegetables contaminated with diverse bacteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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