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Optimization of a Method for the Concentration of Genetic Material in Bacterial and Fungal Communities on Fresh Apple Peel Surfaces Published In Microorganisms, 7:1480, 2020, by A Hamilton, SJ Harper, F Critzer

Abstract: Apples are the most consumed fruit in the United States and have recently been shown to exhibit some vulnerability to contamination across the supply chain. It is unclear what role a fruit microbiome analysis may serve in future food safety programs interested in understanding changes in the product and the processing environment. Ultimately, sample integrity is key if any of these approaches are to be employed; low microbial loads on apple surfaces, the inability to sample the entire surface, and inefficiency of removal may act as barriers to achieving high-quality DNA. As such, the objective of this study was to identify a reproducible method to concentrate and quantify bacterial and fungal DNA from fresh apple surfaces. Five methods were evaluated: two variations of wash solutions for bath sonication, wash filtration, epidermis excision, and surface swabbing. Epidermis excision returned the highest mean DNA quantities, followed by the sonicated washes and wash filtration. Surface swabbing was consistently below the limit of detection. Based on the quantity of host DNA contamination in surface excision, the sonicated wash solution containing a surfactant presents the greatest opportunity for consistent, high-yielding DNA recovery from the entire apple surface.

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Washington State University