Inactivation of Listeria monocytogenes ATCC 7644 on tomatoes using sodium docecyl sulphate, levulinic acid and sodium hypochlorite solution

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E. Mnyandu
O.A. Ijabadeniyi
S. Singh


food safety, Listeria monocytogenes, fresh produce, food borne illnesses, tomatoes, food borne pathogens


The human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes poses a serious threat to public health. A study was carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of four sanitizers, used individually or combined, against L. monocytogenes ATCC 7644. The contact times for bacteria and sanitizer were varied to 1, 3 and 5 minutes. Levulinic acid, sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS), sodium hypochlorite solution (chlorine) and a combination of SDS and levulinic acid (mixture) were tested. Results revealed that 0.5% levulinic acid, when used individually, is capable of reducing the surviving colonies by 3.63 log CFU/mL, 4.05 log CFU/mL, 6.71 log CFU/mL after exposure for 1, 3 and 5 minutes respectively.
SDS resulted in an 8 log CFU/mL reduction after 1, 3 and 5 minutes. A combination of 0.5% levulinic acid and 0.05% SDS caused a 3.69 log CFU /mL reduction, 4.4 log CFU/mL reduction, 7.97 log CFU/mL reduction for 1, 3 and 5 minutes respectively. Chlorine was the least effective with 2.93 log CFU/mL reduction, 3.16 log CFU/ mL reduction and 4.53 log CFU/ mL reduction respectively. When stored for up to 72 hours at 4°C, the surviving colonies remained viable and decreased in number significantly P < 0.05 = 0.001. The titratable acidity of samples treated with levulinic acid and samples treated with SDS/Lev mixture was lowered significantly compared to the control sample. No significant differences were noted in these same parameters for samples treated with chlorine or SDS. The application of SDS in the fresh produce industry as a sanitizing agent may be successful in eradicating or reducing the viability of L. monocytogenes on fresh produce, thereby replacing the routine chlorine washing.
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