Salmonella contamination of bulb onions, which brought on remembers throughout the U.S. and Canada in 2020, is the main target of a Texas A&M AgriLife Research challenge to assist onion producers resolve the issue.

Salmonella outbreaks in onions and onion merchandise present that the pathogen may persist throughout manufacturing, dealing with or storage. This is a major concern to the onion produce trade, researchers stated.

Understanding salmonella in bulb onions

Researchers tackle salmonella in bulb onions

Vijay Joshi, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research assistant professor in the Department of Horticultural Sciences and techniques physiologist on the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Uvalde

“Little is known about salmonella’s behavior related to bulb onions,” stated Vijay Joshi, Ph.D., AgriLife Research assistant professor in the Department of Horticultural Sciences and techniques physiologist on the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Uvalde.

Joshi’s crew, over the following two years, with greater than $400,000 in grant help from the Center for Produce Safety, will develop an onion-specific threat discount plan to ship to trade.

The crew will base its onion threat discount suggestions on research of various genetic backgrounds of salmonella. The researchers will examine how bulb onions’ genetic and metabolic compositions – when influenced by agronomic practices, altering seasons and different environments – have an effect on persistence of the pathogen.

Three AgriLife Research scientists be part of Joshi in the challenge:

— Alejandro Castillo, Ph.D., affiliate professor in the Texas A&M Department of Animal Science and Department of Food Science and Technology, Bryan-College Station.

— Daniel Leskovar, Ph.D., Department of Horticultural Sciences professor and heart director, Texas A&M AgriLife heart, Uvalde.

— Subas Malla, Ph.D., assistant professor of vegetable breeding and genetics, Texas A&M AgriLife heart, Uvalde.

New trade instruments

Industry instruments rising from the analysis will embody new pointers for efficient salmonella administration in onions; identification of types and practices to struggle salmonella persistence; and new capability to determine provide chain elements that permit salmonella to persist in bulb onions.

“By developing a roadmap for safe production practices, we can show salmonella’s presence in the onion supply chain,” Joshi stated. “We can minimize the risk of both pre- and post-harvest contamination, creating better assurance of safe produce across the supply chain.”

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