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Microbial ecology of retail ready-to-eat escarole and red chicory sold in Palermo City, Italy

  • Autori: Francesca N.; Guarcello R.; Craparo V.; Moschetti G.; Settanni L.; Gaglio R.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2019
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • Parole Chiave: Chicory; Food Microbiology; Food Safety; Italy; Vegetables;
  • OA Link:


Background: Ready-To-Eat (RTE) foods include any edible food that is commonly consumed raw. This study aimed at evaluation of microbial ecology of retail RTE escarole and red chicory sold in Palermo city, Italy. Methods: A total of 32 mono-varietal RTE samples, including escarole (n=16) and red chicory (n=16) samples were obtained from Palermo, Italy. Both RTE vegetables at expiry date were analyzed to quantify spoilage bacteria, pathogenic bacteria, and yeast. All different colonies were isolated and identified on the basis of phenotypic characteristics and genetic polymorphisms by random amplification of polymorphic DNA-Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and further genotype by sequencing the 16S rRNA gene. The statistical analysis was conducted with SAS 9.2 software (Statistical Analysis System Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA). Results: The level of Listeria monocytogenes and coagulase-positive staphylococci were below the detection. Total microbial counts were above 8 log10 colony forming unit/g in RTE red chicory, while they were about 1 log cycle lower in escarole. In general, escarole showed lower levels for all microbial groups than red chicory with the exception of the total yeast. A total of 13 strains were identified into ten species belonging to six genera as Bacillus, Erwinia, Pantoea, Pseudomonas, Microbacterium, and Rahnella. The most numerous identified genera were Pseudomonas and Pantoea. Conclusion: This work pointed out the relevance of implementing good hygiene practices during processing in order to prolong quality parameters and acceptability of mono-varietal salads.