Water UV-C treatment alone or in combination with peracetic acid: A technology to maintain safety and quality of strawberries
Nicolau Lapeña, Iolanda
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Disinfection of fruits is one of the most important steps since they are going to be eaten fresh-or minimally-processed. This step affects quality, safety, and shelf-life of the product. Despite being a common sanitizer in the fruit industry, chlorine may react with organic matter leading to the formation of toxic by-products. Alternative sustainable disinfection strategies to chlorine are under study to minimize environmental and human health impact. Water-assisted UV-C light (WUV-C) is proposed here as an alternative sanitizing method for strawberries. In this study, strawberries were washed for 1 or 5 min in a tank with 2 or 4 lamps on, each emitting UV-C light at 17.2 W/cm2, or in a chlorine solution (200 ppm, pH 6.5). Moreover, trials with 4 lamps on, together with a washing solution consisting on peracetic acid at 40 or 80 ppm, were carried out. Overall, quality and nutritional parameters of strawberries after treatments were maintained. Changes in color were not noticeable and fruits did not lose firmness. No major changes were observed in antioxidant activity, organic acid, anthocyanin, vitamin C, and total phenolic content. Yeasts and molds were not affected by the WUV-C treatment, and 5 min were needed to significantly reduce total aerobic mesophylls population. However, reductions of artificially inoculated Listeria innocua and Salmonella Typhimurium after WUV-C treatments were comparable to those obtained with chlorine-wash, which were 3.0 log CFU / g. Moreover, WUV-C light was effective to minimize microorganisms remaining in washing water, avoiding cross-contamination and thus, allowing water recirculation. This effect was improved when combining the action of UV-C light with peracetic acid, showing the suitability of this combined treatment, understood as an alternative to chlorine sanitation, for sanitizing strawberries and keeping the populations of pathogenic bacteria in washing water lower than 0.6 ± 0.1 log CFU / mL.
Is part ofInternational Journal of Food Microbiology, 2020, vol. 335, p. 108887-1-108887-11
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