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Concerns have been on the rise regarding the use of chlorine-based sanitizers for fresh produce sanitation due to the production of toxic disinfection by-products (DBPs). This study was undertaken to evaluate the efficacy of activated persulfate in inactivating Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes in pure culture. The objectives were to study the effect of persulfate to activator ratios and determine the major contributing radical in pathogen inactivation. A five-strain cocktail of each pathogen was treated with sodium persulfate activated by ferrous sulfate or sodium hydroxide for 60 s or 120 s. Non-selective agars supplemented with sodium pyruvate were used for pathogen enumeration. The steady-state concentrations of free radicals were quantified using HPLC-DAD. Radical scavengers (tert-butanol, isopropanol, and benzoquinone) were used to determine the major contributing radical in pathogen inactivation. The results showed more than 7 log CFU/mL reductions can be achieved in 120 s for both pathogens at appropriate activation conditions. For ferrous activation, the persulfate to ferrous ratio played an important role in the overall inactivation efficacy. The maximum pathogen reduction (7.77 log CFU/mL for E. coli O157:H7 and 7.25 log CFU/mL for L. monocytogenes) was achieved at persulfate to ferrous molar ratio of 1:0.33 when the initial persulfate concentration was set at 40 mmol/L. Further increase or decrease of ferrous ratio always leads to lower pathogen reductions. For alkaline activation, the inactivation efficacy increased with more initial sodium hydroxide. The maximum reduction was achieved at 40 mmol/L persulfate with 30 mmol/L sodium hydroxide for E. coli O157:H7 (6.21 log CFU/mL reduction) and at 500 mmol/L persulfate with 350 mmol/L sodium hydroxide for L. monocytogenes (8.64 log CFU/mL reduction). Also, persulfate activated by sodium hydroxide always achieved significantly (P < 0.05) higher microbial reductions than sodium hydroxide or persulfate alone. L. monocytogenes was generally more resistant against the activated persulfate treatment compared with E. coli O157:H7, which might be due to the different cell envelop structures between Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Hydroxyl radical was demonstrated to be the major radical to inactivate both pathogens in ferrous activation while superoxide radical was demonstrated to be the major radical to inactivate both pathogens in alkaline activation.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: International journal of food microbiology
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A verocytotoxin-producing serogroup belonging to the O subfamily of Escherichia coli which has been shown to cause severe food-borne disease. A strain from this serogroup, serotype H7, which produces SHIGA TOXINS, has been linked to human disease outbreaks resulting from contamination of foods by E. coli O157 from bovine origin.
A toxin produced by certain pathogenic strains of ESCHERICHIA COLI such as ESCHERICHIA COLI O157. It is closely related to SHIGA TOXIN produced by SHIGELLA DYSENTERIAE.
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