Theses and Dissertations


Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Silva, Juan L.

Committee Member

White, Shecoya

Committee Member

Schilling, Wes

Committee Member

Esteban Perez, Clara I.

Committee Member

Stafne, Eric T.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Food Science and Technology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


This study focused on evaluating the antimicrobial activity of chlorine dioxide (ClO2) and different plant-based antimicrobials (carvacrol, thymol, and eugenol as bioactive compounds and muscadine extract- ME and blueberry extract- BBE as plant extracts) against selected foodborne pathogens under in vitro conditions and on produce (spinach and blueberries). In addition, bacterial microbiota associated with blueberries and blueberry farm environments from three different regions: Cundinamarca, Colombia; Mississippi, United States; and Guadalajara, Mexico, was determined. Under in vitro conditions, carvacrol and thymol were more effective (lower MICs and MBCs) than eugenol against Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli O157:H7 (MIC=MBC=0.2 mg/ml), and Listeria monocytogenes (MIC=MBC=0.4 mg/ml). Both plant extracts had the same MIC and MBC for Salmonella spp. while BBE had stronger bactericidal effect on Escherichia coli O157:H7 (MBC=150 mg/ml) and ME on L. monocytogenes (MBC=100 mg/ml). ClO2 had stronger bacteriostatic effect on L. monocytogenes (MIC=1 ppm) than on the Gram-negative bacteria (MIC=3 ppm). For the produce study, 300 mg/ml ME exerted the highest (P ≤ 0.05) E. coli O157:H7 reduction (4.5 log CFU/g at day 1) on spinach, and 3 ppm ClO2 + 300 mg/ml ME had the highest (P ≤ 0.05) L. monocytogenes reduction on both (4.5-5.6 log CFU/g). There was a similar (P>0.05) E. coli O157:H7 reduction on blueberries, regardless of antimicrobial treatment. For the microbiota study, Proteobacteria was the most abundant phylum in blueberries, soil, and water, with the exception of fruits from Mexico. Blueberries grown on the different regions shared two predominant genera: Heliorestis (10.5-47.4%) and Thiomonas (5.0-9.1%). Nonetheless, alpha and beta diversity revealed that blueberry microbiota structures were distinctive. PCoA plots revealed that within regions the microbial composition distribution was different (P ≤0.05) among fruits, soil, and water. Based on the results, ME combined with ClO2, could represent an antimicrobial alternative against foodborne pathogens for the produce industry. Furthermore, the study of the microbiota provided a good understanding on the bacterial community profile in blueberries and the blueberry farming environment across regions.