Virology, Nebraska Center for


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Esmael, A.; Al-Hindi, R.R.; Albiheyri, R.S.; Alharbi, M.G.; Filimban, A.A.R.; Alseghayer, M.S.; Almaneea, A.M.; Alhadlaq, M.A.; Ayubu, J.; Teklemariam, A.D. Fresh Produce as a Potential Vector and Reservoir for Human Bacterial Pathogens: Revealing the Ambiguity of Interaction and Transmission. Microorganisms 2023, 11, 753. microorganisms11030753


Open access.


The consumer demand for fresh produce (vegetables and fruits) has considerably increased since the 1980s for more nutritious foods and healthier life practices, particularly in developed countries. Currently, several foodborne outbreaks have been linked to fresh produce. The global rise in fresh produce associated with human infections may be due to the use of wastewater or any contaminated water for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables, the firm attachment of the foodborne pathogens on the plant surface, and the internalization of these agents deep inside the tissue of the plant, poor disinfection practices and human consumption of raw fresh produce. Several investigations have been established related to the human microbial pathogens (HMPs) interaction, their internalization, and survival on/within plant tissue. Previous studies have displayed that HMPs are comprised of several cellular constituents to attach and adapt to the plant’s intracellular niches. In addition, there are several plant-associated factors, such as surface morphology, nutrient content, and plant–HMP interactions, that determine the internalization and subsequent transmission to humans. Based on documented findings, the internalized HMPs are not susceptible to sanitation or decontaminants applied on the surface of the fresh produce. Therefore, the contamination of fresh produce by HMPs could pose significant food safety hazards. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the interaction between fresh produce and HMPs and reveals the ambiguity of interaction and transmission of the agents to humans.