Spores of Encephalitozoon cuniculi, E. hellem, and E. intestinalis harvested from cultured mammalian cells were suspended in deionized water, exposed to gamma irradiation at doses of 0–3.0 kGy, and then tested for infectivity by inoculating spores into monolayer cultures of Madin–Darby bovine kidney cells. The cultures were examined for developing microsporidia 4 days later. As the dosage level of radiation increased, corresponding decreases were observed in the number of developing microsporidia for all 3 species. For E. cuniculi and E. intestinalis, 100% inhibition of development was observed after exposure to 1.5 and 2.0 kGy, respectively. Although development of E. hellem was greatly inhibited (97.6% inhibition) after exposure to 3.0 kGy, complete inhibition was not obtained. These findings provide a baseline for investigating the dose levels required to render food products safe when kept under varying temperature, moisture, and other storage conditions.
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