Submitted to: Sensing and Instrumentation for Food Quality and Safety
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/27/2009
Publication Date: 3/1/2009
Publication URL: hdl.handle.net/10113/44482
Citation: Patel, J.R. 2009. Evaluation of reactive oxygen species generating AirOcare system for reducing airborne microbial populations in a meat processing plant. Sensing and Instrumentation for Food Quality and Safety. 3:57-61. Interpretive Summary: The microbial contamination of meat and meat products is of continuing concern to the meat industry and regulatory agencies. Air has been established as source of microbial contamination in slaughter and processing facilities. The effect of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generating germicidal air cleaning unit on reducing airborne bacteria in a meat processing room was evaluated. The room was aerosolized with the nebulizer to increase the initial microbial load in the room. Air in the room was sampled periodically and analyzed for total aerobic bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria, and lactic acid bacteria. The unit significantly reduced Gram-negative and lactic acid bacterial populations in the air within first sampling of 24 h. Further ROS treatment reduced the microorganisms in the air. The use of ROS generating unit in meat processing facilities may improve food safety and product shelf life.
Technical Abstract: The microbial contamination of meat and meat products is of continuing concern to the meat industry and regulatory agencies. Air has been established as a source of microbial contamination in slaughter and processing facilities. The objective of this research was to determine the efficacy of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generating AirOcare equipment in reducing airborne bacteria in a meat processing environment. Bacterial strains found in ground beef were used to artificially contaminate the air using a 6-jet Collison nebulizer. Airborne bacterial populations in the meat processing room were monitored every 24 h at multiple locations using a Staplex 6 stage air sampler. Total aerobic, Gram-negative, and lactic acid bacterial populations were determined by sampling on R2A agar, MacConkey agar and Lactobacilli MRS agar, respectively. Approximately 3 log reductions of lactic acid bacteria and Gram-negative bacteria were observed after 24 hours of treatment (P<0.05) compared to ~1.5 log reduction in the control treatment. Further exposure with ROS significantly reduced lactic acid bacteria and Gram-negative bacteria in the air at 48 and 96 h sampling intervals. These findings reveal that reactive oxygen species treatment using AirOcare unit significantly reduces airborne contamination in a meat processing environment.