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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #207586

Title: Produce Surface Characteristics Affect Product Quality and Safety

item Luo, Yaguang - Sunny
item FENG, HAO
item WANG, HUA
item Zhang, Aijun

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/30/2007
Publication Date: 8/6/2007
Citation: Luo, Y., Feng, H., Wang, H., Zhang, A. 2007. Produce Surface Characteristics Affect Product Quality and Safety. [abstract]. ISHS Conference on Quality Management in Fresh-cut Produce.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The surface characteristics of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables vary largely among produce types, maturities and processing procedure. Studies have shown that the surface topography of produce significantly affected adherence, attachment, and biofilm formation of bacteria, as well as their removal and inactivation during sanitized washing. Using Confocal laser scanning microscopy, it was found that bacterial removal was closely associated with surface roughness of cantaloupe, avocado, oranges and apples when other factors were controlled. Washing conditions, including water quality, hydrodynamics of the wash solution, agitation mode, and flow velocity, also significantly affect bacterial removal and inactivation on fresh-cut produce of varying surface characteristics. Test results indicate that the reduction rate of bacterial populations increased with the increase in flow velocity and agitation rate. Washing produce with re-used and re-circulated water containing large amounts of organic matter supported bacterial growth during produce storage. It is therefore important to maintain the optimum wash operation conditions to achieve the maximum reduction of bacterial populations and ensure food quality and safety.