Detection of microbial populations on freshly packed Florida ‘valencia’ oranges

Jiuxu Zhang

Abstract


Commercial fresh citrus fruit generally receive appropriate postharvest handling and treatments to ensure their safety and high quality. Surface microbial populations on freshly packed ‘Valencia’ oranges obtained from six commercial packinghouses, representing different citrus growing regions in Florida, were studied using PetrifilmTM microbial count plates. The experimental results showed that yeast and mold, aerobic, and coliform bacteria were detected on the surfaces of tested ‘Valencia’ oranges. Freshly packed ‘Valencia’ oranges from two packinghouses had significantly higher (P < 0.05) levels (148.26 to 233.37 CFU/cm2) of yeast and mold counts than those (0.83 to 7.03 CFU/cm2) of the other four packinghouses. Aerobic bacterial levels on freshly packed ‘Valencia’ oranges ranged from 1.54 to 3.01 log CFU/cm2. A low level of coliform bacteria (0.01 to 1.98 CFU/cm2) was observed from all tested fruit. No E. coli was detected for any fruit tested. The experimental results indicate that Florida commercially packed ‘Valencia’ oranges appear to have no potential E. coli related safety risks to the consumers.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283