This study was undertaken to compare the efficacies of chlorous acid (268 ppm), sodium hypochlorite (200 ppm), and lactic acid (2%) in eliminating total mesophilic microorganisms, Salmonella Typhimurium, and Listeria monocytogenes on commercial mung bean sprouts immediately after treatment and during posttreatment refrigerated storage. Treatment with sodium hypochlorite for 10 min did not reduce the total aerobic count. However, treatment with lactic acid and chlorous acid for 10 min initially reduced the total aerobic count by 0.6 and 0.8 log CFU/g, respectively, and maintained the same level or a lower level of the total aerobic count during the storage time. Treatment with chlorous acid reduced Salmonella Typhimurium from 5.0 log to undetectable levels (<0.48 log CFU/g), and the pathogen remained undetectable over a 9-day storage period. Treatment with lactic acid resulted in an initial 3-log reduction and further reduced the number of Salmonella Typhimurium cells to undetectable levels after 3 days. For L. monocytogenes, treatment with chlorous acid resulted in an initial 5-log reduction, and treatment with lactic acid resulted in a 2-log reduction at the beginning and undetectable levels after 9 days. When chemically injured cells were investigated by the selective overlay method, no statistical difference was observed (P < 0.05) between the number of injured cells recovered following treatment with chlorous acid and the number of bacteria counted on selective media, whereas sodium hypochlorite generated more injured cells than the other treatments did. These data suggest that treatment with chlorous acid may be useful in reducing total mesophilic microorganisms, Salmonella Typhimurium, and L. monocytogenes in commercial mung bean sprouts.

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