The availability of knowledge of the route of infection and critical plant and microbe factors influencing the colonization efficiency of plants by human pathogenic bacteria is essential for the design of preventive strategies to maintain safe food. This research describes the differential interaction of human pathogenic Salmonella enterica with commercially available lettuce cultivars. The prevalence and degree of endophytic colonization of axenically grown lettuce by the S. enterica serovars revealed a significant serovar¿cultivar interaction for the degree of colonization (S. enterica CFUs per g leaf), but not for the prevalence. The evaluated S. enterica serovars were each able to colonize soil-grown lettuce epiphytically, but only S. enterica serovar Dublin was able to colonize the plants also endophytically. The number of S. enterica CFU per g of lettuce was negatively correlated to the species richness of the surface sterilized lettuce cultivars. A negative trend was observed for cultivars Cancan and Nelly, but not for cultivar Tamburo. Chemotaxis experiments revealed that S. enterica serovars actively move toward root exudates of lettuce cultivar Tamburo. Subsequent micro-array analysis identified genes of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium that were activated by the root exudates of cultivar Tamburo. A sugar-like carbon source was correlated with chemotaxis, while also pathogenicity-related genes were induced in presence of the root exudates. The latter revealed that S. enterica is conditioned for host cell attachment during chemotaxis by these root exudates. Finally, a tentative route of infection is described that includes plant-microbe factors, herewith enabling further design of preventive strategies.