Research Needs

While extensive research has been conducted in a number of areas relating to the microbiological safety and quality of melons, a number of gaps exist that impede further progress. One deficiency is the relatively small amount of information concerning melons other than cantaloupe. Another area requiring more attention is the nature of microbial attachment to melons, especially conditions favoring biofilm formation and internalization in the netting of cantaloupes and stem scar of melons. A better understanding of salmonella adhesion to cantaloupe is needed for the development of more effective washing treatments to control this organism on melon surfaces and fresh-cut pieces. With regard to sanitation methods for melons, the promising results obtained with hot water surface pasteurization should be extended to additional melons besides cantaloupe, and the possibility of adverse effects on quality and shelf life should be given further study. As a back-up strategy, research should be conducted on lower temperature surface treatments used in combination with other treatments that may be synergistic. Finally, because of the possibility of low-level survival of pathogens on melon surfaces following such treatments and transfer to the flesh during fresh-cut processing, better means of suppressing outgrowth of survivors by treatment of fresh-cut melon with preservatives, irradiation, or other means should be investigated.

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