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ABSTRACT: The initial microflora of minimally processed celery and cabbage packaged under a modified atmosphere was determined. The samples came from the same producer and were sold in a supermarket chain of Santiago, Chile. Although neither E. coli nor Salmonella spp. were detected, initial total plate and Enterobacteriaceae counts were high (= 10(5) cfu/g), not meeting in most cases the specifications of the Chilean legislation. The D10 value for two strains of E. coli (ATCC 8739 and a wild type) inoculated as indicator microorganisms was determined. After irradiating with 5 D10 doses (1kGy), the variation of the microbial population and sensory quality during a 7 days storage period at 5 degrees C was studied. In irradiated celery, a reduction of 4.7 and 3.8 logs for total plate and Enterobacteriaceae counts respectively was observed. There was a decrease of 3.8 and 3.6 logs in cabbage for total plate and Enterobacteriaceae counts respectively. In both irradiated and non-irradiated vegetables, neither E. coli nor Salmonella spp. were detected. An increase of 1.6 - 1.7 logs in both microbiological parameters in non-irradiated samples was observed during storage. In irradiated products, only celery showed an increase of 1.2 log in total plate count. Both Enterobacteriaceae count in the two vegetables and Total plate count in cabbage presented essentially no variation in time. No significant differences (p = 0.05) were detected in sensory total quality between the control and the irradiated vegetable and between days of storage.