BACKGROUND: Cabbage may become contaminated with enteric pathogens during cultivation. Using multiple cabbage cultivars at two maturity stages (small plants or plants with small heads) in growth chamber studies, the fate (internalization or surface survival) of Salmonella and Escherichia coli O157:H7 (0157) were examined in conjunction with any potential relationships to the plant’s antimicrobial content.
RESULTS: Internalized Salmonella was detected in cabbage within 24 hours with prevalence ranging from 62% (16 of 26) for the ‘Super Red 80’ cultivar to 92% (24 of 26) for the ‘Red Dynasty’ cultivar. The fate of Salmonella and O157 on small cabbage plants over nine days was significantly affected by cultivar with both these pathogens surviving the least and most on the ‘Capture’ and ‘Farao’ cultivars, respectively (P < 0.05). Survival of O157 was slightly higher on cabbage heads for O157 than small plants suggesting that the maturity stage may affect this pathogen’s fate. An inverse relationship existed between antimicrobial levels and a pathogen’s fate on cabbage heads (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: The fate of pathogens varied with the cabbage cultivar in growth chamber studies highlighting the potential to explore cultivar in field studies to reduce the risk of microbiological contamination in this crop.
Marilyn C. Erickson, Jye-Yin Liao, Alison S. Payton, Peter W. Cook, Ynes R. Ortega. 2019. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.