Jan. 1, 2012 - Feb. 28, 2014Award Number
Jitu Patel, Ph.D.
USDA - ARS
There have been a series of produce-related outbreaks involving E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella in the last 20 years. It is critical to have produce free from pathogens as most produce is consumed raw or minimally processed. Good Agricultural Practices and Good Manufacturing practices at the preharvest and postharvest settings, respectively, have been implemented in recent years to minimize pathogen contamination. However, even occasional transfer of pathogens to fresh produce during preharvest can result in outbreaks, necessitating massive produce recalls. This project proposes to evaluate the role of cover crop systems in reducing the risk of pathogens in the pre-harvest environment; specifically, glucosinolate-derived compounds from Brassica spp. as a green manure to control E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella in soil. Broccoli will be grown in high tunnels and after harvest of florets, remnant crops will be tilled over in the soil. The persistence of E. coli and Salmonella strains inoculated in soil will be monitored over a period of time. Results will determine the efficacy of green manure as intervention to control enteric pathogens in soil and on fresh produce.