Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Degree Program

Food Science

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



An effective and rapid method for the separation of bacteria from food matrix remains a bottleneck for rapid bacteria detection for food safety. Bacteria can strongly attach to the food surface or internalize within the matrix which makes their isolation extremely difficult. Traditional methods of separating bacteria from foods routinely involve stomaching, blending and shaking, however these methods may not be efficient at removing all the bacteria from complex matrices. Here, we investigate the benefits of using enzyme digestion followed by immunomagnetic separation to isolate Salmonella from spinach and lettuce. Enzymatic digestion using pectinase and cellulase was able to break down the structure of the leafy green vegetables resulting in the detachment and release of Salmonella from the leaves. Immunomagnetic separation of Salmonella from the liquefied sample allowed an additional separation step to achieve a more pure sample without leaves debris that may benefit additional downstream applications. We have investigated the optimal combination of pectinase and cellulase for the digestion of spinach and lettuce to improve sample detection yields. The concentrations of enzymes used to digest the leaves were confirmed to have no significant effect on the viability of the inoculated Salmonella. Results reported that the recovery of the Salmonella from the produce after enzyme digestion of the leaves was significantly higher (P

First Advisor

Sam R Nugen