Mode of Microbial Attachment to Melons

The external surface of cantaloupe melons is characterized by the presence of a net comprising porous lenticellar tissue on the epidermis [14]. Such tissue provides numerous attachment sites for microorganisms and also may shield attached cells from contact with cleaning or antimicrobial agents (Figure 10.1). Microbial attachment and the possibility of internalization may occur in the stem scar region. In contrast, honeydew melon and watermelon have a smooth surface that should be less favorable for attachment and protection of

FIGURE 10.1 Scanning electron microscopy image showing bacteria on cantaloupe rind surface (A) and in lenticel (B).

microorganisms. Park and Beuchat [34] reported that greater numbers of E. coli O157:H7 and salmonella cells were inactivated or detached from inoculated honeydew melon than from cantaloupe when the melons were washed with sanitizer solutions. Similarly, the population of aerobic microorganisms on honeydew melon could be reduced to lower levels than the population on cantaloupes by washing with 200-2000 ppm chlorine solutions [35]. Similar results were reported by Ukuku and Fett [17].

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