Salmonella and tomatoes

Book chapter

Bartz, J., Marvasi, M. and Teplitski, M. 2014. Salmonella and tomatoes. in: Matthews, K., Sapers, G. and Gerba, C. (ed.) The produce contamination problem: causes and solution San Diego Academic Press. pp. 269-289
Chapter titleSalmonella and tomatoes
AuthorsBartz, J., Marvasi, M. and Teplitski, M.

Outbreak information linking fresh tomato fruit to illnesses is reviewed in this chapter. While tomato fruit appear to support substantial proliferation of certain serovars of Salmonella enterica, detection of this pathogen in tomato plants prior to harvest is rare, and reports of Salmonella existence in tomato fruit still attached to field-grown plants are virtually non-existent. The bacterium is sensitive to UV and can be outcompeted by the native phytomicrobiota, which may explain its absence in field-grown crops. However, the persistence of certain serovars in fields and ponds of certain production areas is noted. Together with evidence of bacteria becoming internalized in tomato fruit during crop development likely through natural apertures, the presence of S. enterica in and around production fields suggests that an unusual weather event could lead to Salmonella contamination of fruit prior to harvest. The bacterium appears physiologically adaptive toward proliferation in tomato fruit. Once inside tomatoes, Salmonella is capable of sensing the availability of nutrients and physiological state of the fruit and differentially regulates specific genes. However, because Salmonella is an efficient nutrient scavenger, removal of multiple metabolic and regulatory genes was required to reduce its fitness within the fruit. Plants do not appear to recognize human enterics as pathogens, and their defenses treat them as endophytes.

KeywordsPostharvest handling; Marketing of tomato fruit; Linkages of non-typhoidal Salmonellosis with fresh tomatoes; Serovars of S. enterica and fresh tomato fruit; Interactions of S. enterica with tomato fruit tissues
Page range269-289
Book titleThe produce contamination problem: causes and solution
EditorsMatthews, K., Sapers, G. and Gerba, C.
PublisherAcademic Press
Place of publicationSan Diego
Publication dates
Print01 Nov 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited06 May 2015
Accepted01 Oct 2014
Output statusPublished
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