Escherichia coli O157: H7 (EHEC) is a major foodborne pathogen largely transmitted to humans through the consumption of undercooked ground beef. This study investigated the efficacy of two food-grade, plant-derived antimicrobials, namely rutin (RT), and resveratrol (RV) with or without chitosan (CH) in enhancing EHEC inactivation in undercooked hamburger patties. Further, the effect of aforementioned treatments on beef color and lipid oxidation was analyzed. Additionally, the deleterious effects of these antimicrobial treatments on EHEC was determined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Ground beef was inoculated with a five-strain mixture of EHEC (7.0 log CFU/g), followed by the addition of RT (0.05%, 0.1% w/w) or RV (0.1, 0.2% w/w) with or without CH (0.01% w/w). The meat was formed into patties (25 g) and stored at 4°C for 5 days. On days 1, 3, and 5, the patties were cooked (65°C, medium rare) and surviving EHEC was enumerated. The effect of these treatments on meat color and lipid oxidation during storage was also determined as per American Meat Science Association guidelines. The study was repeated three times with duplicate samples of each treatment. Both RT and RV enhanced the thermal destruction of EHEC, and reduced the pathogen load by at least 3 log CFU/g compared to control (P < 0.05). The combination of RT or RV with CH was found to be more effective, and reduced EHEC by 5 log CFU/g (P < 0.05). EHEC counts in uncooked patties did not decline during storage for 5 days (P > 0.05). Moreover, patties treated with RV plus CH were more color stable with higher a* values (P < 0.05). SEM results revealed that heat treatment with antimicrobials (CH + RV 0.2%) resulted in complete destruction of EHEC cells and extrusion of intracellular contents. Results suggest that the aforementioned antimicrobials could be used for enhancing the thermal inactivation of EHEC in undercooked patties; however, detailed sensory studies are warranted.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)