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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Residue Chemistry and Predictive Microbiology Research

2012 Annual Report

4. Accomplishments
1. Antimicrobial coatings effectively inactivate foodborne pathogens. Pathogenic contamination of food usually starts from food surfaces. The presence and potential growth of pathogens in food during storage and transportation is a safety concern. ARS researchers at Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, used antimicrobial coatings to kill pathogens on food surfaces and to prevent further cross-contaminations during transportation, storage, and store display. The coating treatments were capable of reducing Salmonella by more than 99.9999% on cantaloupe, tomato stem scar, and shell eggs, and no re-growth during 14 days storage at 10 Degrees C. Results from this study will provide food processors with viable options for designing antimicrobial coatings to improve the microbiological safety and quality of produce.

2. In-package pasteurization for fresh and fresh-cut produce. Fresh fruits and vegetables are usually consumed by consumers directly without a cooking step to kill foodborne pathogens. Any pathogenic contamination in fresh fruits and vegetables can potentially cause severe illnesses or even deaths. ARS researchers at Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, developed an in-package chlorine dioxide releasing film that can kill pathogens on packaged foods. Results indicated antimicrobial films in a food container can inactivate 99.9% of Salmonella inoculated onto fresh grape tomatoes and some other types of produce. The in-package pasteurization provides a single, simple, inexpensive technique to enhance the microbial safety and extend the shelf-life of packaged fresh and fresh-cut produce.

3. Integrated approach to enhance microbial safety of tomato fruits. Fresh tomatoes have been implicated in recent outbreaks of foodborne diseases. ARS researchers at Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania integrated ultraviolet C (UV-C) light with low dose gamma radiation to control human pathogens on tomato fruits. Results indicated greater than 99.999% of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enterica strains inoculated onto tomato fruits was inactivated by a combined treatment of low dose UV-C and gamma radiation. Furthermore, this treatment significantly reduced the population of native microbes during 3 weeks of storage at 10 Degrees C, without causing substantial quality changes in tomatoes. This approach may be used by the produce industry to decontaminate fresh tomatoes.

Review Publications
Jin, Z.T., He, Y. 2012. Antibacterial activities of magnesium oxide (MgO) nanoparticles against foodborne pathogens. Journal of Nanoparticle Research. 13:6877-6885.

Chen, W., Jin, Z.T., Gurtler, J., Geveke, D.J., Fan, X. 2012. Inactivation of Salmonella on whole cantaloupe by application of an antimicrobial coating containing chitosan and allyl isothiocyanate. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 155:165-170.

Fan, X., Lee, E.J., Ahn, D. 2011. Volatile sulfur compounds in foods as a result of ionizing radiation. In: Qiang, M., Fan, X., Mahattanatawee, K., editors. American Chemistry Society Book Chapter. Book chapter for ACS Publications. Washingnton, DC: American Chemical Society. p. 243-258.

Dong, X., Dong, M., Lu, Y., Turley, A., Jin, Z.T., Wu, C. 2011. Antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of lignin from residue of corn stover to ethanol production. Industrial Crops and Products. 34(3):1629-1634.

Li, W., Li, X., Fan, X., Tang, Y., Yun, J. 2012. Response of antioxidant activity and sensory quality in fresh-cut pear as affected by high O2,active packaging compared with low O2 packaging. Food Science and Technology International. 18:197-205.

Fan, X., Guan, W., Sokorai, K.J. 2012. Quality of fresh-cut iceberg lettuce and spinach irradiated at doses up to 4kGy. Journal of Radiation Physics and Chemistry. 81:1071-1075.

Gurtler, J., Jin, Z.T. 2012. Propyl paraben sensitizes heat-resistant Salmonella Enteritidis and Oranienburg to thermal inactivation in liquid egg albumen. Journal of Food Protection. 75(3):443-448.

Yadav, M.P., Strahan, G.D., Mukhopadhyay, S., Hotchkiss, A.T., Hicks, K.B. 2011. Fomation of corn fiber gum-milk protein conjugates and their molecular characterization. Food Hydrocolloids Journal. 26:326-333.

Mukhopadhyay, S., Ramaswamy, R. 2011. Application of emerging technologies to control Salmonella in foods: a review. Food Research International. 45:666-677

Ukuku, D.O., Onwulata, C.I., Mukhopadhyay, S. 2012. Behavior of Escherichia coli bacteria in whey protein and corn meal during twin screw extrusion processing at different temperatures. Journal of Food Processing and Technology. 3(4):1000150.

Mukhopadhyay, S., Ukuku, D.O., Phillips, J.G., Juneja, V.K. 2012. Survival and growth of Salmonella Enteritidis in membrane processed liquid egg white with pH, temperature and storage conditions as controlling factors. Food Microbiology. 75(7):1219-1226.

Li, X., Yun, J., Fan, X., Xing, Y., Yao, T. 2012. Effect of 1-methylcyclopropene and modified atmosphere packaging on chilling injury, and antioxidative defensive mechanism of sweet pepper. African Journal of Biochemistry Research. 10:6581-6589.

Jin, Z.T., Gurtler, J. 2012. Inactivation of Salmonella on tomato stem scars by edible chitosan and organic acid coatings. Journal of Food Protection. 75(8):1368-1372.

Yun, J., Li, X., Fan, X., Yao, T., Xiao, Y., Wan, S. 2012. Effect of gamma irradiation on microbial load, physicochemical and sensory characteristics of soybeans (Glycine max L. Merrill). Journal of Radiation Physics and Chemistry. 81:1198-1202.

Tomasula, P.M., Mukhopadhyay, S., Datta, N., Porto Fett, A.C., Call, J.E., Luchansky, J.B., Renye Jr, J.A., Tunick, M.H. 2011. Pilot-scale crossflow-microfiltration and pasturization to remove spores of Bacillus anthracis (Sterne) from milk. Journal of Dairy Science. 94:4277-4291.

Last Modified: 05/29/2017
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