Automated detection of fecal contamination of apples by multispectral laser-induced fluorescence imaging
Animal feces are a suspected source of contamination of apples by disease-causing organisms such as Escherichia coli O157. Laser-induced fluorescence was used to detect different amounts of feces from dairy cows, deer, and a dairy pasture applied to Red Delicious apples. One day after application, detection for 1:2 and 1:20 dilutions was nearly 100%, and for 1:200 dilutions (<15 ng of dry matter) detection was >80%. Detection after apples had been washed and brushed was lowest for pasture feces; detection for 1:2, 1:20, and 1:200 dilutions of feces was 100%, 30%, and 0%, respectively. This technology may encourage development of commercial systems for detecting fecal contamination of apples.