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Effect of irrigation regimes on persistence of Salmonella enterica serovar Newport in small experimental pots designed for plant cultivation

Abstract

Increased outbreaks of foodborne illness throughout the world have raised concern over the potential health hazard of pre-harvest colonization of crops by human pathogens originating from contaminated irrigation water, or manure-amended soil. Contradictory reports currently exist concerning the ability of pathogenic bacteria to penetrate internal plant tissues via the root and translocate to edible aerial tissues, which suggest dependence of the process on experimental variables employed. Mechanistic investigations of internalization into plants require development of regulated, experimental, co-cultivation systems for the plant and the bacteria. In the present study, we have evaluated the effect of three irrigation regimes: ‘no-irrigation’ and irrigation with or without leachate, on the capacity of Salmonella enterica serovar Newport to survive in a potting medium in small experimental pots designed for internalization studies. The duration of bacterial survival in the potting-medium varied under the irrigation regimes employed, ranging from 4.7 to 10 weeks. The survival duration under irrigation without leachate was longer than in the ‘no-irrigation’ treatment. Leaching reduced the concentration of Salmonella in the experimental pots, presumably by a washing effect and consequently shortened the duration of survival from 70 to 33 days. The observed dependency of Salmonella viability in the experimental pots, upon the irrigation schemes applied, points at the need to consider the irrigation conditions in experimental systems aimed at studying the interactions between human enteric pathogen and the plant ecosystem.

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Acknowledgments

We thank M.T. Brandl (USDA-ARS, Produce Safety and Microbiology Research Unit, Albany, CA, USA) for sharing with us the S. Newport strain; Dr. A. Genizi for statistical advice; and Riky Pinto and Michael Kravchik for expert technical assistance. This work was supported by grant no. 304-0282-04 from the Chief Scientist Fund of the Ministry of Agriculture in Israel awarded to N. Bernstein and S. Sela. Contribution number 602-06 of ARO, The Volcani Center.

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Correspondence to Nirit Bernstein.

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Communicated by S. Raine.

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Bernstein, N., Sela, S. & Neder-Lavon, S. Effect of irrigation regimes on persistence of Salmonella enterica serovar Newport in small experimental pots designed for plant cultivation. Irrig Sci 26, 1–8 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00271-006-0059-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00271-006-0059-3

Keywords

  • Field Capacity
  • Irrigation Scheme
  • Leachate Solution
  • Irrigation Regime
  • Brilliant Green