Co-cultivation of Beta vulgaris limits the pre-harvest colonization of foodborne pathogen (Salmonella spp.) on tomato.
Int J Food Microbiol. 2020 Jun 20 ;332:108768. Epub 2020 Jun 20. PMID: 32623289
Soil-borne Salmonella is associated with a large number of food-related disease outbreaks linked to pre-harvest contamination of plants (like tomato) in agricultural fields. Controlling the spread of Salmonella at field is very important in order to prevent various food-borne illnesses. One such approach involves the utilization of antimicrobial secondary metabolite of plant origin. We screened common salad vegetables for anti-Salmonella activity. Beta vulgaris root (beetroot) had very low colonization of Salmonella under in vitro conditions. We hypothesized that beetroot can be used to reclaim the soil contaminated with Salmonella. Cultivation of B. vulgaris in Salmonella treated soil brings down its CFU significantly. Since these antimicrobial effects are non-specific, a co-cultivation system of beet and tomato (a Salmonella susceptible plant) was used to analyze the effect on soil and its microbiota. The soil physicochemical properties and bacterial diversity were unaffected when tomato and beet co-cultivation was used. However, Salmonella burden on the tomato was reduced and its yield was restored. Thus, the inclusion of these crops in the crop-rotation or as a mixed/intercrop or as a bio-control crop can be a fruitful tool to reclaim the Salmonella contaminated soil.