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J Food Prot. 2014 Nov;77(11):1844-50. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-13-562.

Salmonella newport and typhimurium colonization of fruit differs from leaves in various tomato cultivars.

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Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.
Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA; Center for Food Safety and Security Systems, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


Several outbreaks of Salmonella enterica infections have been linked to tomatoes. One cost-effective way to complement on-farm preventive Good Agricultural Practices is to identify cultivars with inherent decreased susceptibility to Salmonella colonization. Fruit and leaves of 13 tomato cultivars with distinct phenotypes were screened to evaluate their susceptibility to Salmonella epiphytic colonization. Field-grown fruit or gnotobiotically grown seedling leaves were spot inoculated in replicate with either Salmonella Typhimurium LT2 or a tomato outbreak-associated strain of Salmonella Newport. Initial loads of the Salmonella inocula were 2.5 log CFU per fruit and 3.5 or 7.0 log CFU per seedling. Salmonella cells were retrieved and enumerated using direct plating after 24 h of incubation at room temperature for fruit and 72 h at 26°C during the day and 18°C at night for seedling leaves. Epiphytic colonization of fruit by S. enterica was cultivar-dependent and serotype-specific, but did not necessarily correlate with leaf colonization. Fruit of cultivar Heinz-1706 were the least colonized by Salmonella Newport, while the highest populations were retrieved from fruit of Nyagous. By contrast, seedling leaves supporting the lowest populations were Florida 91 VF and the highest were Virginia Sweets for Salmonella Newport. For Salmonella Typhimurium the lowest was Nyagous and the highest was Heinz-1706 and Moneymaker. The tomato outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport attained higher population densities on fruit than did Salmonella Typhimurium, suggesting better adaptation to tomato fruit colonization. Salmonella Newport populations were significantly lower on leaves, but not fruit of the near-isogenic line Movione, compared with the parent cultivar Moneymaker, suggesting the immunity conferring gene Pto could be responding to this outbreak strain. Susceptibility of tomato fruit to Salmonella colonization is highly variable and could be one criterion for cultivar selection for cultivation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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