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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Food Animal Metabolism Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #319864

Title: Chloroxyanion residues in cantaloupe and tomatoes after chlorine dioxide gas sanitation

item Smith, David
item ERNST, WILLIAM - Ica Tri-Nova Corporation, Llc
item Herges, Grant

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/12/2015
Publication Date: 10/23/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Smith, D.J., Ernst, W., Herges, G.R. 2015. Chloroxyanion residues in cantaloupe and tomatoes after chlorine dioxide gas sanitation. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 63(43):9640-9649.

Interpretive Summary: Bacteria that cause human disease may be present on fresh produce after harvest while bacteria that hasten rotting are almost always on produce after harvest. Although washing is sometimes effective at removing these bacteria from produce, especially those having smooth surfaces, washing is ineffective at removing bacteria from rough, scarred, or damaged produce surfaces. Chlorine dioxide gas is highly effective at eliminating pathogens and rot organisms on smooth or rough surfaced fruits and vegetables without the use of copious amounts of water. Chlorine dioxide gas for food sanitation, however, has not been approved by regulatory authorities for use on human foods. The purpose of this study was to measure residues deposited on tomatoes and cantaloupe after chlorine dioxide sanitation. Data generated by the study clearly demonstrate that under the proper sanitation conditions chlorine dioxide does not leave undesirable residues in edible portion of produce.

Technical Abstract: Chlorine dioxide gas is effective at cleansing fruits and vegetables of bacterial pathogens and(or) rot organisms, but few data are available on chemical residues remaining subsequent to chlorine gas treatment. Therefore, studies were conducted to quantify chlorate and perchlorate residues after tomato and cantaloupe treatment with chlorine dioxide gas. Treatments delivered 50 mg of chlorine dioxide gas per kg of tomato (2-hr treatment) and 100 mg of gas per kg of cantaloupe (6-hr treatment) in sealed, darkened containers. Chlorate residues in tomato and cantaloupe edible flesh homogenates were less than the LC-MS/MS limit of quantitation (60 and 30 ng/g respectively), but were 1,319 ± 247 ng/g in rind + edible flesh of cantaloupe. Perchlorate residues in all fractions of chlorine dioxide-treated tomatoes and cantaloupe were not different (P < 0.05) than perchlorate residues in similar fractions of untreated tomatoes and cantaloupe. Data from this study suggest that chlorine dioxide sanitation of edible vegetables and melons can be conducted without the formation of unwanted residues in edible fractions.