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Irrigation Water Quality for Leafy Crops: A Perspective of Risks and Potential Solutions.

Allende A, Monaghan J - Int J Environ Res Public Health (2015)

Bottom Line: This is a particular risk in the production of leafy vegetables that will be eaten raw without cooking.Growers can identify water sources that are contaminated with potential pathogens through a monitoring regime and only use water free of pathogens, but the low prevalence of pathogens makes the use of faecal indicators, particularly E. coli, a more practical approach.This study gives an overview of the main problems in the production of leafy vegetables associated with irrigation water, including microbial risk and difficulties in water monitoring, compliance with evolving regulations and quality standards, and summarises the current alternatives available for growers to reduce microbial risks.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Research Group on Quality, Safety and Bioactivity of Plant Foods, Department of Food Science and Technology, CEBAS-CSIC, Campus Universitario de Espinardo, 30100 Murcia, Spain. aallende@cebas.csic.es.

ABSTRACT
There is increasing evidence of the contribution of irrigation water in the contamination of produce leading to subsequent outbreaks of foodborne illness. This is a particular risk in the production of leafy vegetables that will be eaten raw without cooking. Retailers selling leafy vegetables are increasingly targeting zero-risk production systems and the associated requirements for irrigation water quality have become more stringent in regulations and quality assurance schemes (QAS) followed by growers. Growers can identify water sources that are contaminated with potential pathogens through a monitoring regime and only use water free of pathogens, but the low prevalence of pathogens makes the use of faecal indicators, particularly E. coli, a more practical approach. Where growers have to utilise water sources of moderate quality, they can reduce the risk of contamination of the edible portion of the crop (i.e., the leaves) by treating irrigation water before use through physical or chemical disinfection systems, or avoid contact between the leaves and irrigation water through the use of drip or furrow irrigation, or the use of hydroponic growing systems. This study gives an overview of the main problems in the production of leafy vegetables associated with irrigation water, including microbial risk and difficulties in water monitoring, compliance with evolving regulations and quality standards, and summarises the current alternatives available for growers to reduce microbial risks.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Nutrient film techniques (NFT), a type of soilless systems where a thin film of nutrient solution flows through plastic channels which contain the plant roots and laid on a slope in order to grant the constant flow of nutrient solution. Source: James M. Monaghan (Harper Adams University).
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ijerph-12-07457-f003: Nutrient film techniques (NFT), a type of soilless systems where a thin film of nutrient solution flows through plastic channels which contain the plant roots and laid on a slope in order to grant the constant flow of nutrient solution. Source: James M. Monaghan (Harper Adams University).

Mentions: Soilless systems, such as hydroponic floating systems [71] or nutrient film techniques (NFT) [72], are being used for leafy vegetables with short production cycles allowing a better control and standardization of the cultivation process (Figure 3). Many advantages have been attributed to the use of soilless systems in greenhouses to produce leafy greens, but reductions in product quality and shelf life have been observed [73] which may limit the use of these systems. However, recent studies carried out in commercial agricultural production sites showed that the use of poor quality irrigation water combined with the use of soilless production systems considerably reduced microbial contamination risks to fresh produce [42,74].


Irrigation Water Quality for Leafy Crops: A Perspective of Risks and Potential Solutions.

Allende A, Monaghan J - Int J Environ Res Public Health (2015)

Nutrient film techniques (NFT), a type of soilless systems where a thin film of nutrient solution flows through plastic channels which contain the plant roots and laid on a slope in order to grant the constant flow of nutrient solution. Source: James M. Monaghan (Harper Adams University).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4515668&req=5

ijerph-12-07457-f003: Nutrient film techniques (NFT), a type of soilless systems where a thin film of nutrient solution flows through plastic channels which contain the plant roots and laid on a slope in order to grant the constant flow of nutrient solution. Source: James M. Monaghan (Harper Adams University).
Mentions: Soilless systems, such as hydroponic floating systems [71] or nutrient film techniques (NFT) [72], are being used for leafy vegetables with short production cycles allowing a better control and standardization of the cultivation process (Figure 3). Many advantages have been attributed to the use of soilless systems in greenhouses to produce leafy greens, but reductions in product quality and shelf life have been observed [73] which may limit the use of these systems. However, recent studies carried out in commercial agricultural production sites showed that the use of poor quality irrigation water combined with the use of soilless production systems considerably reduced microbial contamination risks to fresh produce [42,74].

Bottom Line: This is a particular risk in the production of leafy vegetables that will be eaten raw without cooking.Growers can identify water sources that are contaminated with potential pathogens through a monitoring regime and only use water free of pathogens, but the low prevalence of pathogens makes the use of faecal indicators, particularly E. coli, a more practical approach.This study gives an overview of the main problems in the production of leafy vegetables associated with irrigation water, including microbial risk and difficulties in water monitoring, compliance with evolving regulations and quality standards, and summarises the current alternatives available for growers to reduce microbial risks.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Research Group on Quality, Safety and Bioactivity of Plant Foods, Department of Food Science and Technology, CEBAS-CSIC, Campus Universitario de Espinardo, 30100 Murcia, Spain. aallende@cebas.csic.es.

ABSTRACT
There is increasing evidence of the contribution of irrigation water in the contamination of produce leading to subsequent outbreaks of foodborne illness. This is a particular risk in the production of leafy vegetables that will be eaten raw without cooking. Retailers selling leafy vegetables are increasingly targeting zero-risk production systems and the associated requirements for irrigation water quality have become more stringent in regulations and quality assurance schemes (QAS) followed by growers. Growers can identify water sources that are contaminated with potential pathogens through a monitoring regime and only use water free of pathogens, but the low prevalence of pathogens makes the use of faecal indicators, particularly E. coli, a more practical approach. Where growers have to utilise water sources of moderate quality, they can reduce the risk of contamination of the edible portion of the crop (i.e., the leaves) by treating irrigation water before use through physical or chemical disinfection systems, or avoid contact between the leaves and irrigation water through the use of drip or furrow irrigation, or the use of hydroponic growing systems. This study gives an overview of the main problems in the production of leafy vegetables associated with irrigation water, including microbial risk and difficulties in water monitoring, compliance with evolving regulations and quality standards, and summarises the current alternatives available for growers to reduce microbial risks.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus