The project will develop aqueous-free systems for decontaminating (i.e. inactivation of human pathogens and spoilage microbes) fresh produce that can be applied individually or sequentially. The first intervention is based on a forced-air ozone reactor that introduces the antimicrobial gas through the bed of produced at a controlled flow rate. The advantage of the method is large batches of produce can be treated and supports a higher log reductions of bacteria compared to when ozone is applied to storage rooms. The second intervention is based on Advanced Oxidative Process (AOP) that generates a cloud of antimicrobial radicles from the degradation of ozone and hydrogen peroxide that can decontaminate the surface, in addition to sub-surface. Each of the treatments will be modelled using Surface Response Methodology that will be used to optimize (log reduction of relevant pathogens and retention of sensor quality) each of the treatment parameters. The research will deliver aqueous-free decontamination methods as an alternative or supplement to post-harvest washing. In addition to being a more effective decontamination methods, the interventions will provide water savings and the potential to degrade pesticides. The participating partner will benefit from the expertise of the applicants knowledge of engineering, microbiology and food safety.
University of Guelph
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