Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Residue Chemistry and Predictive Microbiology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #382948

Research Project: Integration of Multiple Interventions to Enhance Microbial Safety, Quality, and Shelf-life of Foods

Location: Residue Chemistry and Predictive Microbiology Research

Title: Gaseous Ozone to Preserve Quality and Enhance Microbial Safety of Fresh Produce: Recent Developments and Research Needs

Author
item Fan, Xuetong

Submitted to: Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/9/2021
Publication Date: 9/17/2021
Citation: Fan, X. 2021. Gaseous Ozone to Preserve Quality and Enhance Microbial Safety of Fresh Produce: Recent Developments and Research Needs. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. https://doi.org/10.1111/1541-4337.12796.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1541-4337.12796

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Fresh fruits and vegetables are highly perishable and are subject to large postharvest losses due to physiological (senescence), pathologic (decay) and physical (mechanical damage) factors. In addition, the safety of fresh produce has become an area of concern as foodborne human pathogens and pesticide residues have been found to be associated with fresh fruits and vegetables. Therefore, technologies are needed to reduce the losses and enhance microbial and chemical safety of fresh produce. Gaseous ozone, as a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) substance, has multiple benefits including destruction of ethylene, inactivation of foodborne and spoilage microorganisms, and degradation of chemical residues. This article reviews the beneficial effects of gaseous ozone, its influence on quality and biochemical changes, and discusses research needs and directions with an emphasis on fruits. As a stress, ozone can induce synthesis of a number of antioxidants and bioactive compounds by activating secondary metabolisms involving a wide range of enzymes. Disparities exist in the literature regarding the impact of gaseous ozone on quality and physiological processes of fresh produce, such as weight loss, ascorbic acid, and fruit ripening. The disparities are complicated by using different units for ozone concentrations as well as the failure in reporting detailed treatment conditions, such as relative humidity, which is known to influence ozone efficacy. Research is needed to evaluate the molecular mechanisms of gaseous ozone in inhibiting ripening, influence of relative humidity on efficacy against microorganism, interaction between ozone and the cuticle of fresh produce, ozone signaling pathways in the cells and tissues, etc. Possible adverse effects of gaseous ozone on quality of fresh produce also need to be carefully evaluated before commercial application, especially for the purpose of enhancing microbial and chemical safety of fresh produce.