Castro Rosas, J., Santos Lopez, E.M., Gomez Aldapa, C.A., Ramirez, C.A.G., Villagomez Ibarra, J.R., Gordillo Martinez, A.J., López, A.V., Del Refugio Torres-Vitela, M. Incidence and behaviour of Salmonella and Escherichia coli on whole and sliced zucchini squash (Curcubita pepo) fruit, Journal of Food Protection, 2010, Vol. 73 (8) , pp 1423-1429, ISNN 0362-028X
The incidence of coliform bacteria (CB), thermotolerant coliforms (TC), Escherichia coli, and Salmonella was determined for zucchini squash fruit. In addition, the behavior of four serotypes of Salmonella and a cocktail of three E. coli strains on whole and sliced zucchini squash at 25+/-2 degrees C and 3 to 5 degrees C was tested. Squash fruit was collected in the markets of Pachuca city, Hidalgo State, Mexico. CB, TC, E. coli, and Salmonella were detected in 100, 70, 62, and 10% of the produce, respectively. The concentration ranged from 3.8 to 7.4 log CFU per sample for CB, and >3 to 1,100 most probable number per sample for TC and E. coli. On whole fruit stored at 25+/-2 degrees C or 3 to 5 degrees C, no growth was observed for any of the tested microorganisms or cocktails thereof. After 15 days at 25+/-2 degrees C, the tested Salmonella serotypes had decreased from an initial inoculum level of 7 log CFU to <1 log, and at 3 to 5 degrees C they decreased to approximately 2 log. Survival of E. coli was significantly greater than for the Salmonella strains at the same times and temperatures; after 15 days, at 25+/-2 degrees C E. coli cocktail strains had decreased to 3.4 log CFU per fruit and at 3 to 5 degrees C they decreased to 3.6 log CFU per fruit. Both the Salmonella serotypes and E. coli strains grew when inoculated onto sliced squash: after 24 h at 25+/-2 degrees C, both bacteria had grown to approximately 6.5 log CFU per slice. At 3 to 5 degrees C, the bacterial growth was inhibited. The squash may be an important factor contributing to the endemicity of Salmonella in Mexico.