Castro-Rosas, Javier; Santos López, Eva María; Gómez-Aldapa, Carlos Alberto; González Ramírez, Cesar Abelardo; Villagomez-Ibarra, José Roberto; Gordillo-Martínez, Alberto José; López, Angélica Villarruel; Torres-Vitela, M. del Refugio. Incidence and Behavior of Salmonella and Escherichia coli on Whole and Sliced Zucchini Squash (Cucurbitapepo) Fruit. Journal of Food Protection. 73:1423-1429.
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 2C and 3 to 5C 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 2C or 3 to 5C, no growth was observed for any of the tested microorganisms or cocktails thereof. After 15 days at 25 2C, the tested Salmonella serotypes had decreased from an initial inoculum level of 7 log CFU to <1 log, and at 3 to 5C 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 2C E. coli cocktail strains had decreased to 3.4 log CFU per fruit and at 3 to 5C 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 2C, both bacteria had grown to approximately 6.5 log CFU per slice. At 3 to 5C, the bacterial growth was inhibited. The squash may be an important factor contributing to the endemicity of Salmonella in Mexico.