Sanitizer Type and Contact Time Influence Salmonella Reductions in Preharvest Agricultural Water Used on Virginia Farms

Claire M. Murphy, Alexis M. Hamilton, Kim Waterman, Channah Rock, Donald Schaffner, Laura K. Strawn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


No Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chemical treatments for preharvest agricultural water are currently labeled to reduce human health pathogens. The goal of this study was to examine the efficacy of peracetic acid- (PAA) and chlorine (Cl)-based sanitizers against Salmonella in Virginia irrigation water. Water samples (100 mL) were collected at three time points during the growing season (May, July, September) and inoculated with either the 7-strain EPA/FDA-prescribed cocktail or a 5-strain Salmonella produce-borne outbreak cocktail. Experiments were conducted in triplicate for 288 unique combinations of time point, residual sanitizer concentration (low: PAA, 6 ppm; Cl, 2-4 ppm or high: PAA, 10 ppm; Cl, 10-12 ppm), water type (pond, river), water temperature (12°C, 32°C), and contact time (1, 5, 10 min). Salmonella were enumerated after each treatment combination and reductions were calculated. A log-linear model was used to characterize how treatment combinations influenced Salmonella reductions. Salmonella reductions by PAA and Cl ranged from 0.0 ± 0.1 to 5.6 ± 1.3 log10 CFU/100 mL and 2.1 ± 0.2 to 7.1 ± 0.2 log10 CFU/100 mL, respectively. Physicochemical parameters significantly varied by untreated water type; however, Salmonella reductions did not (p = 0.14), likely due to adjusting the sanitizer amounts needed to achieve the target residual concentrations regardless of source water quality. Significant differences (p < 0.05) in Salmonella reductions were observed for treatment combinations, with sanitizer (Cl > PAA) and contact time (10 > 5 > 1 min) having the greatest effects. The log-linear model also revealed that outbreak strains were more treatment-resistant. Results demonstrate that certain treatment combinations with PAA- and Cl-based sanitizers were effective at reducing Salmonella populations in preharvest agricultural water. Awareness and monitoring of water quality parameters are essential for ensuring adequate dosing for the effective treatment of preharvest agricultural water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100110
JournalJournal of food protection
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Chlorine
  • Corrective action
  • FSMA
  • Peracetic Acid
  • Salmonella
  • Surface water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Sanitizer Type and Contact Time Influence Salmonella Reductions in Preharvest Agricultural Water Used on Virginia Farms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this