Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence
Microbiology, Health care sciences and services, Public and environmental health, Occupational health
Atmospheric cold plasma (ACP) is an effective method for microbiological decontamination. This study evaluated an alternative water-based decontamination approach for inactivation of bacterial population from fresh produce and in the wash water generated from fresh produce washing. The study characterised ACP inactivation of attached Listeria innocua and Pseudomonas fluorescens inoculated on lettuce in comparison to chlorine treatment. P. fluorescens was sensitive to ACP treatment and was reduced below detection limit within 3 min of treatment. L. innocua population was reduced by ∼2.4 Log10 CFU/g after 5 min of treatment; showing similar inactivation efficacy to chlorine treatment. The microbial load in wash water was continuously decreased and was below detection limits after 10 min of ACP treatment. Micro-bubbling along with agitation assisted the bacterial detachment and distribution of reactive species, thus increasing bacterial inactivation efficacy from fresh produce and wash water. A shift in pH of plasma functionalised water was observed along with high concentration of nitrate and ozone with a relative amount of nitrites which increased with plasma exposure time. Further, L. innocua treated at different independent pH conditions showed minimal or no effect of pH on ACP bacterial inactivation efficacy. Aqueous ACP treatment poses a promising alternative for decontamination of fresh produce and the associated wash-waters which could be applied in the food industry to replace continuous chlorine dosing of process waters.
Apurva Patange, Peng Lu, Daniela Boehm, P.J. Cullen, Paula Bourke, Efficacy of cold plasma functionalised water for improving microbiological safety of fresh produce and wash water recycling, Food Microbiology, Volume 84, 2019, 103226, ISSN 0740-0020, DOI: 10.1016/j.fm.2019.05.010.
Department of Agriculture Food and Marine; Science Foundation Ireland