1. Develop and evaluate novel antagonists (e.g. Bacteriovorax, Bdellovibrio and non-pectolytic Pseudomonas) for biological-based intervention strategies, and identify means of combining pathogen microbial ecology with effective chemical and physical interventions. 2. Develop and optimize chemical decontamination interventions (e.g. novel sanitizer formulations and advanced gas-phase antimicrobial treatments), making use of pathogen microbial ecology information generated under Objective 1. 3. Develop nonthermal technologies (e.g. cold plasma, high-intensity monochromatic light and irradiation) as effective, waterless physical treatments, and establish protocols for combination treatments with interventions developed in the first two objectives.
A holistic approach to the development of new effective intervention technologies will be followed. In an iterative process of technology development, increased knowledge of pathogen ecology on produce surfaces will be used to optimize biological, chemical and physical control strategies; combinatorial use of intervention technologies will be examined for additive and synergistic effects while maintaining product quality. More rapid and successful commercialization will be fostered by determining the equipment and infrastructure required for large-scale implementation, as well as economic costs and benefits expected from the use of the new technologies. A key aspect of this effort to facilitate commercialization will be collaboration and information sharing with industry, including direct contact with potential end-users of technologies. Stakeholders will be updated on research goals and objectives of the project, and input will be sought from them to identify key problems to be solved. By proactively fostering these interactions in conjunction with site visits, annual scientific meetings, industry trade shows and similar venues, there will be opportunities in the early, mid-phase and in late stages of research will allow for the practical needs of industry to be addressed as the research is formulated and conducted.
This new Project Plan was recently certified through the ARS Office of Scientific Quality Review (OSQR). For further details on current work see the 2016 annual report for project 8072-41420-018-00D.