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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Food Science

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Produce is responsible for 46% of all foodborne illnesses in the USA. Salmonella enterica causes 19,000 hospitalizations each year, and has been associated with produce. Presently, chlorine based sanitizers are most often used, however organic matter reduces its antimicrobial activity. Bacteriophage treatments are an all-natural, alternative method for pathogen inactivation. The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy of a five-strain bacteriophage treatment against a S. enterica cocktail in simulated wash waters at different temperatures. Bacteriophage and S. enterica were enumerated in simulated wash water solutions. One set of experiments studied bacteriophage and S. enterica growth in TSB+vegetable solutions. Bacteriophage behavior was not statistically different (p < 0.05) in spinach, romaine, or iceberg lettuce across different concentrations of organic matter. S. enterica reduction was approximately 2 log over 135 minutes for vegetable solutions and for the TSB control. S. enterica reduction was only 0.5 log in water solutions. The next set of experiments studied bacteriophage and S. enterica growth in vegetable solutions. Spinach wash water and tryptone soy broth solutions (TSB) at 20 °C and 37 °C. S. enterica was not reduced in spinach solution studies at 20 °C and 37 °C or at broth solutions at 20 °C. However, S. enterica was effectively reduced 4 log in broth solutions at 37 °C up to 7.5 hours, but grew to high levels after 24 hours. These results indicate that bacteriophage could not effectively control bacteria levels in produce wash water, and may need to be optimized.


First Advisor

Amanda J. Kinchla

Second Advisor

Lynne McLandsborough

Fourth Advisor

David Sela