Oocysts are the environmentally resistant life stage of Toxoplasma gondii. Humans can become infected by accidentally ingesting the oocysts in water or from contaminated produce. Severe disease can occur in immunocompromised individuals, and nonimmune pregnant women can infect their offspring. Chronic infection is associated with decreased mental functions, vision and hearing problems, and some mental disorders such as schizophrenia. High pressure processing (HPP) is a commercial method used to treat food to eliminate pathogens. Treatment of produce to eliminate viable T. gondii oocysts would provide a means to protect consumers. The present study was done to better define the effects of HPP on oocysts placed on raspberries. Raspberries were chosen because they are a known source of a related human intestinal parasite, Cyclospora cayetanensis. Raspberries were inoculated with 5 × 104 oocysts of the VEG strain of T. gondii for 20 hr prior to HPP. Individual raspberries were exposed to 500 MPa, 400 MPa, 340 MPa, 300 MPa, 270 MPa, 250 MPa, 200 MPA, 100 MPa, or no MPa treatment for 60 sec in a commercial HPP unit (1 MPa = 10 atm = 147 psi). Treatment of raspberries with 340 MPa for 60 sec was needed to render oocysts spot inoculated on the raspberries noninfectious for mice. Treatment of raspberries with 200 MPa or less for 60 sec was not effective in rendering oocysts noninfectious for mice.
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