Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2015
Publication Date: 7/24/2015
Citation: Niemira, B.A., Lacombe, A.C., Gurtler, J., Kingsley, D.H., Sites, J.E. 2015. Enhancing the safety and quality of fresh produce and low-moisture foods by waterless non-thermal technologies: Cold plasma and monochromatic light. Meeting Abstract. USDA NIFA Project Director Invitational Meeting. IAFP Annual Meeting. Portland, Oregon. July 24, 2015.Volume 1, Page 1.
Technical Abstract: NIFA Project 2015-69003-23410 addresses the urgent need for novel technologies that improve the safety of fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables that preserve quality while reducing water usage. This portion of the project is to investigate emerging non-thermal technologies, such as antimicrobial monochromatic light and cold plasma. The work will be conducted in three phases: laboratory-scale, industrial simulation-scale, and pilot-scale studies. The kinetics of processing parameters (e.g., concentration, intensity, and time) will be determined for these treatments under various environmental conditions (e.g., temperature, dose, and humidity), and product characteristics (e.g., tissue makeup, surface structure, and roughness). This will allow enhancement of the inactivation of foodborne bacterial, viral, and parasitic pathogens. Individual technologies that are capable of achieving the desired performance standards for hazard reduction while retaining nutrition and quality will be optimized and validated for commercial-scale applications. Combinations of successful technologies will be similarly validated to ensure high product quality under conditions that ensure inactivation of pathogens. A cooling tunnel and chamber will be used to simulate commercial processing so as to fine-tune the treatment parameters for large sample volumes. Finally, we will collaborate with our industry partners to conduct scale-up studies with the optimized technologies. We expect that with these optimized technologies, processors will be able to reduce inputs of energy and water, and will see overall improved efficiencies in the production of safer fresh produce.