Posted on 10 July 2008 by

A Vaccine Against Salmonella for Tomatoes?

By Michelle Fabio

With the source of the recent salmonella outbreak in the United States still under investigation, one food microbiologist in Canada is turning his attention to preventing the bacteria from ever becoming a tomato-associated problem again.

Keith Warriner of Ontario’s University of Guelph is working with graduate student Jianxiong Ye on a vaccine that would prevent the growth of salmonella bacteria in and on tomatoes during the growing and harvesting phases.

Warriner and Ye have identified that a combination of microbes (an Entrobacter and a bacteriaphage for you scientific types) may effectively stop salmonella from forming in tomatoes. So far the mixture has been tested successfully on mung beans because they grow faster than tomatoes, but further testing on our favorite fruits is still needed.

Remember that if a tomato’s surface has been exposed to salmonella, washing the fruit well should remove all traces. That said, the bacteria has also been found inside tomatoes and no amount of washing would be able to get rid of it.

“We hope that by using our biocontrol method that salmonella outbreaks linked to tomatoes will be a thing of the past,” Warriner said.

We tomato lovers sure hope so too.

Source: Guelph scientist testing technique to inoculate tomatoes against salmonella

4 Responses to “A Vaccine Against Salmonella for Tomatoes?”

  1. deb Says:

    Come on,just wash them off, okay? Sorry, Texas is now considering testing all Mexican tomatoes. This is going to get expensive. I am raising my own, y’all.

  2. bleeding espresso Says:

    Well, the problem is that salmonella can also get inside the tomato, and then no amount of washing will get rid of the bacteria.

    I’m with you, though, Deb…a few tomato plants in our gardens is a great idea anyway 🙂

  3. F.Scaramella Says:

    I strongly believe that tomatos as other vegetables,grown in a private garden ,duly fertilized and washed before being used,are safe from SalmonellaMost of my friends that grow them on a yearly basis in our zone(5)haven,t had health problems,considering that a tomato salad is,almost a daily ritual at dinner time,especially with the Roma type.
    Just a few minutes of daily care during their growth,more than pay off with the healthy nourrishing they provide.

  4. bleeding espresso Says:

    Homegrown is always best–completed agreed 🙂

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