Fruits and vegetables are important for a healthy diet. However, when eaten raw and contaminated with human pathogens (HPs) they may cause a disease outbreak. Contamination with HPs can occur along the entire farm-to-fork production chain and Salmonella enterica is one of the most common foodborne pathogens. A range of biotic and abiotic environmental factors can influence the complex interactions between Salmonella and plants. Moreover, the outcome of experiments largely depends on the experimental design and parameters or methods employed, and on top, on the accompanying plant microbiome and the genetic equipment of the plant and the Salmonella strain. Particularly mobile genetic elements contribute to the diversification and adaptation of Salmonella to the plant environment. So far, little is known about the key processes and factors influencing the attachment and potential internalization of Salmonella in plants and the plant specific responses. It is therefore important to better understand the ecology of Salmonella in the soil and plant environment, in order to propose practicable recommendations for prevention of foodborne diseases. This also requires improved sensitivity and specificity of detection methods. In this chapter, we present the current knowledge, research needs, and methodology regarding the complex interactions between Salmonella and plants.
Part of the book: Current Topics in Salmonella and Salmonellosis