these microorganisms can exploit opportunities for growth provided by access to the rich source of nutrients contained within plant tissues. Selective pressures derived from agronomic factors (source, field conditions), post-harvest treatments, the intrinsic properties of raw materials (physical structure, pH, availability of growth substrates, antimicrobial factors), and processing (washing, application of antimicrobials, storage atmospheres, temperature) influence the success of individual species and the composition of microbial populations in products derived from individual vegetables.
A considerable body of scientific literature indicates that spoilage associations in fresh-cut vegetables are product-specific, and a complete description of microbiological phenomena in all such products is beyond the scope of this work. Instead, three commodities have been selected to illustrate the influence of inherent and processing variables on the development of spoilage associations and the fate of undesirable microorganisms in fresh-cut vegetables.
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