Volatile compounds from Escherichia coli O157:H7 and their absorption by strawberry fruit

Keshun Yu, Thomas R. Hamilton-Kemp, Douglas D. Archbold, Randall W. Collins, Melissa C. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Volatile compounds emitted by cultures of two strains of the pathogenic bacterium Escherichia coli O157:H7 and a nonpathogenic strain of E. coli were trapped on Super-Q porous polymer and identified by GC-MS. The predominant compound produced by all three strains was indole with lesser amounts of other components including methyl ketones, 2-heptanone, 2-nonanone, 2- undecanone, and 2-tridecanone. The vapor-phase profiles of these strains were similar for most chemicals identified but differed with regard to ketones. Strawberry fruit was shown to be a suitable host for E. coli O157:H7 with the population of the bacterium either increasing or remaining stable after 3 days depending on inoculation level. Headspace analysis of the volatile compounds from inoculated fruit yielded no detectable quantity of indole. Strawberry fruit readily absorbed indole and other volatile compounds produced by the bacteria and in some cases metabolized the compounds to new volatile products. Thus, headspace 'marker' compounds indicating possible bacterial contamination of fruit were largely removed from the vapor phase by the strawberries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-417
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2000


  • 2-heptanone
  • Aroma
  • Food safety
  • Headspace
  • Human pathogen
  • Indole

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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