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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Environmental Microbial & Food Safety Laboratory » Research » Research Project #431975

Research Project: Fluid Mechanics and Mass Transfer of Washing Fresh and Fresh-Cut Produce

Location: Environmental Microbial & Food Safety Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-32420-006-16-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2016
End Date: Jul 31, 2021

Objective:
Advance scientific basis for non-immersive fresh-cut washing processes through computational approaches. The second objective is to support the development of novel technologies to remove organic materials and improve produce washing and sanitizing efficacy.

Approach:
An integrated, three-phase approach will be employed to address the major objectives defined. In phase I, ARS will identify feasible ranges of spray and jet parameters for produce washing. In phase 2, the Cooperator will study this in detail, producing parametrizable models for washing efficacy and water and chemical consumption for different produce types. In phase 3, these models will be tested, refined, and validated at ARS. The fluid mechanics personnel of Cooperator will maintain close contact with the hardware development and testing at ARS. Specifically, the Cooperator will compute velocity fields and free chlorine concentration distributions, focusing on establishing the relationship between bulk chlorine concentration, spray/jet parameters, and the chlorine concentration at the produce surface. The intent will be to tailor the flow so that a given bulk chlorine concentration provides a high chlorine concentration at the surface. Computations will address microbial inactivation and removal of bacteria by shear using experimental rate data from produce surfaces embedded in the wall bounding a simple channel flow.