Quantifying the reduction in potential health risks by determining the sensitivity of poliovirus type 1 chat strain and rotavirus SA-11 to electron beam irradiation of iceberg lettuce and spinach. Academic Article uri icon


  • Fresh produce, such as lettuce and spinach, serves as a route of food-borne illnesses. The U.S. FDA has approved the use of ionizing irradiation up to 4 kGy as a pathogen kill step for fresh-cut lettuce and spinach. The focus of this study was to determine the inactivation of poliovirus and rotavirus on lettuce and spinach when exposed to various doses of high-energy electron beam (E-beam) irradiation and to calculate the theoretical reduction in infection risks that can be achieved under different contamination scenarios and E-beam dose applications. The D(10) value (dose required to reduce virus titers by 90%) (standard error) of rotavirus on spinach and lettuce was 1.29 ( 0.64) kGy and 1.03 ( 0.05) kGy, respectively. The D(10) value (standard error) of poliovirus on spinach and lettuce was 2.35 ( 0.20) kGy and 2.32 ( 0.08) kGy, respectively. Risk assessment of data showed that if a serving (14 g) of lettuce was contaminated with 10 PFU/g of poliovirus, E-beam irradiation at 3 kGy will reduce the risk of infection from >2 in 10 persons to approximately 6 in 100 persons. Similarly, if a serving size (0.8 g) of spinach is contaminated with 10 PFU/g of rotavirus, E-beam irradiation at 3 kGy will reduce infection risks from >3 in 10 persons to approximately 5 in 100 persons. The results highlight the value of employing E-beam irradiation to reduce public health risks but also the critical importance of adhering to good agricultural practices that limit enteric virus contamination at the farm and in packing houses.

published proceedings

  • Appl Environ Microbiol

altmetric score

  • 2

author list (cited authors)

  • Espinosa, A. C., Jesudhasan, P., Arredondo, R., Cepeda, M., Mazari-Hiriart, M., Mena, K. D., & Pillai, S. D.

citation count

  • 37

complete list of authors

  • Espinosa, Ana Cecilia||Jesudhasan, Palmy||Arredondo, RenĂ©||Cepeda, Martha||Mazari-Hiriart, Marisa||Mena, Kristi D||Pillai, Suresh D

publication date

  • February 2012