|Kumar, Govindaraj - University Of Maryland|
|Ravishankar, Sadhana - University Of Arizona|
Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/2017
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Environmental matrices such as soil, water, and dust harbor microorganisms. Many of the microorganisms found in the environment are essential for biogeochemical cycles and are essential for plant growth. The microbiome of the produce production environment might also contain foodborne pathogens and spoilage organisms that can be detrimental to the quality of produce and the health of the consumer. While management practices and regulations are used to minimize produce contamination by harmful microorganisms, these are seldom foolproof. Hence, post-harvest washing and sanitizer treatment of produce are often used during hydrocooling, comminution or before wax application and packaging. These steps can help extend the shelf-life and improve the microbiological safety of produce, which are essential for commerce. Ensuring that the customer receives a safe product becomes imperative, since produce is often shipped long distances from packing houses to retail facilities. This chapter provides information about sanitizers commonly used by produce growers and the packaging industry. The modes of action, salient properties and limitations of some of the current sanitizers have been described. Alternative technologies that have the potential to replace current sanitation and washing protocols have been discussed in detail. Current trends in the industry lean towards the use of “clean labels” while the demand for improved quality is always on the rise. Understanding the risks, benefits and legislative boundaries of a sanitizer is imperative before implementation into commercial practice. The optimal use of a sanitizer often becomes a confluence of chemistry, microbiology, plant physiology and consumer preference.