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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Use of Negative Air Ionization for Reducing Microbial Contamination on Stainless Steel Surfaces

Authors
item Arnold, Judy
item Mitchell, Bailey

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 4, 2001
Publication Date: January 1, 2002
Citation: ARNOLD, J.W., MITCHELL, B.W. USE OF NEGATIVE AIR IONIZATION FOR REDUCING MICROBIAL CONTAMINATION ON STAINLESS STEEL SURFACES. JOURNAL OF APPLIED POULTRY RESEARCH. 2002.

Interpretive Summary: Food plant sanitation methods that rely heavily on physical and chemical treatments for removing and killing bacteria could be reduced by the use of non-chemical intervention methods. One of these methods, negative electrostatic charge, is a promising new technology, safe, non-toxic, and non-chemical. The method removes dust and pathogens from the air. This initial work on the effects on biofilms shows promise as a viable intervention option for reducing bacterial contamination on surfaces. Natural bacterial populations from a poultry processing facility were collected, grown as biofilms, and assessed for susceptibility to negative electrostatic charge. A small chamber with an electrostatic space charge system was used to treat natural bacterial populations that were grown on stainless steel coupons (1 x 4 cm). The object of the system was to transfer a strong negative electrostatic charge to bacteria that were attached to coupons at the base of the chamber. The system effectively decreased the bacteria on the stainless steel, with a 99.8 % reduction efficiency. All the samples taken from coupons contained bacteria, and the numbers of bacteria from the ionized surfaces were significantly less than for the non-ionized surfaces. These results demonstrate the potential efficacy of negative air ionization against bacterial contamination on surfaces in the poultry processing environment.

Technical Abstract: Microbiological concerns in food plant sanitation that rely heavily on physical and chemical methods for removing and killing bacteria could be reduced by the use of non-chemical intervention methods. This initial work on the effects of electrostatic space charge on biofilms shows promise as a viable intervention option for reducing bacterial contamination on surfaces. Natural bacterial populations from a poultry processing facility were collected, grown as biofilms, and assessed for susceptibility to negative air ionization. A small chamber with an electrostatic space charge system was used to treat the mixed bacterial populations that were grown on stainless steel coupons (1 x 4 cm). The object of the system was to transfer a strong negative electrostatic charge to bacteria that were attached to coupons at the base of the chamber. The system effectively decreased the survival levels of bacteria on the stainless steel, with a 99.8 % reduction efficiency. All of the swab samples taken from coupons were culture positive for bacteria, and the bacterial counts from the ionized surfaces were significantly less than for the non-ionized surfaces (P<.01). These results demonstrate the potential efficacy of negative air ionization against bacterial contamination on surfaces in the poultry processing environment.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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