Impact of the Growing Location on the Microbial Load of Different Varieties of Cantaloupes- Hansel Mina, Amanda Deering, Petrus Langenhoven

Cantaloupes are perishable and susceptible to microbiological contamination during production, harvest, and distribution. Since cantaloupes are grown on the ground, preharvest safety concerns come from the bacterial load that they can harbor from the soil and the contamination with foodborne pathogens carried by irrigation water, manure-based fertilizers and wild animals. The study examined the microbial concentration of 8 different varieties of cantaloupes that were grown under greenhouse conditions in two different locations in Indiana. Escherichia coli was absent on all the cantaloupes rinds evaluated. Aerobic bacteria and coliforms concentration were found to be between 107 and 108 CFU/g. For some varieties, location of production influenced the aerobic bacteria, yeast and mold concentration. In contrast, coliform concentration was found to not have a significant difference between varieties regardless of the growing location. a Pearson correlation showed that there is a strong interaction among the different microorganisms, regulating their overall concentration (p-value <0.05).

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