The prevalence, size, genome, and life cycle of Eimeria acervulina make this organism a good surrogate for Cyclospora cayetanensis, a protozoan that causes gastroenteritis in humans, including recent outbreaks in the United States and Canada associated with contaminated raspberries and basil. Laboratory studies of C. cayetanensis are difficult because of the lack of readily available oocysts and of infection models and assays. UV radiation and high-hydrostatic-pressure processing (HPP) are both safe technologies with potential for use on fresh produce. Raspberries and basil were inoculated with sporulated E. acervulina oocysts at high (106 oocysts) and low (104 oocysts) levels, and inoculated and control produce were treated with UV (up to 261 mW/cm2) or HPP (550 MPa at 40°C for 2 min). Oocysts recovered from produce were fed to 3-week-old broiler chickens, which were scored for weight gain, oocyst shedding, and lesions at 6 days postinoculation. Oocysts exhibited enhanced excystation on raspberries but not on basil. Birds fed oocysts from UV-treated raspberries had reduced infection rates, which varied with oocyst inoculum level and UV intensity. Birds fed oocysts from UV-treated raspberries (104 oocysts) were asymptomatic but shed oocysts, and birds fed oocysts from UV-treated basil (104 oocysts) were asymptomatic and did not shed oocysts. Birds fed oocysts from HPP-treated raspberries and basil were asymptomatic and did not shed oocysts. These results suggest that UV radiation and HPP may be used to reduce the risk for cyclosporiasis infection associated with produce. Both treatments yielded healthy animals; however, HPP was more effective, as indicated by results for produce with higher contamination levels.

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