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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #316813

Title: Cold plasma as a nonthermal food processing technology

item Niemira, Brendan
item Gurtler, Joshua
item Sites, Joseph
item Lacombe, Alison
item Boyd, Glenn

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Contamination of meats, seafood, poultry, eggs, and fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables is an ongoing concern. Although well-established in non-food applications for surface treatment and modification, cold plasma is a relatively new food safety intervention. As a nonthermal food processing technology, cold plasma uses energetic, reactive gases to inactivate contaminating microbes. This flexible sanitizing method uses electricity and a carrier gas such as air, oxygen, nitrogen or helium; antimicrobial chemical agents are not required. The primary modes of action are via reactive chemical products of the cold plasma ionization process and UV light. Current research has developed a wide array of cold plasma systems which operate at atmospheric pressures or in low pressure treatment chambers. Reductions of greater than 5 logs can be obtained for pathogens such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. The current state of the art and key technological aspects of this intervention will be described. Finally, this presentation will provide a brief overview of the Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research Unit, which develops and validates innovative approaches and new technologies that control pathogenic bacteria and viruses while preserving the taste, quality, nutritional value of foods.