Inhibition of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enterica Isolates on Spinach Leaf Surfaces Using Eugenol-Loaded Surfactant Micelles.
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Spinach and other leafy green vegetables have been linked to foodborne disease outbreaks of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enterica around the globe. In this study, the antimicrobial activities of surfactant micelles formed from the anionic surfactant sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), SDS micelle-loaded eugenol (1.0% eugenol), 1.0% free eugenol, 200 ppm free chlorine, and sterile water were tested against the human pathogens E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Saintpaul, and naturally occurring microorganisms, on spinach leaf surfaces during storage at 5 C over 10 days. Spinach samples were immersed in antimicrobial treatment solution for 2.0 min at 25 C, after which treatment solutions were drained off and samples were either subjected to analysis or prepared for refrigerated storage. Whereas empty SDS micelles produced moderate reductions in counts of both pathogens (2.1-3.2 log10 CFU/cm2), free and micelle-entrapped eugenol treatments reduced pathogens by >5.0 log10 CFU/cm2 to below the limit of detection (<0.5 log10 CFU/cm2). Micelle-loaded eugenol produced the greatest numerical reductions in naturally contaminating aerobic bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae, and fungi, though these reductions did not differ statistically from reductions achieved by un-encapsulated eugenol and 200 ppm chlorine. Micelles-loaded eugenol could be used as a novel antimicrobial technology to decontaminate fresh spinach from microbial pathogens.