Application of an innovative water-assisted ultraviolet C light technology for the inactivation of microorganisms in tomato processing industries
We aimed to study the efficacy of a water-assisted UVC light device (WUVC) as an innovative clean technology for the disinfection of fresh sound tomatoes and processing wash water and water turbidity was evaluated as a critical parameter. First, wash waters with different turbidities (from 0.4 to 828 NTU) were inoculated with Listeria innocua and treated in the WUVC device at different dosages. Secondly, fresh tomatoes, inoculated with L. innocua and non-inoculated ones, were treated using the WUVC device containing wash water of different turbidities for different times. The reduction of L. innocua populations on wash water and on the surface of tomato was influenced by turbidity; lower reduction values were observed at higher turbidities. Washing tomatoes with tap water with UVC lamps off (control treatment, TW) decreased L. innocua population on the surface of tomatoes but did not eliminate those bacteria that went into the water. Contrarily, when UVC lights were on, L. innocua population in wash water after treatment significantly decreased, those in clean water being the lowest populations. Reductions of native microbiota on the clean water treated with the highest UV-C radiation dose were lower than those obtained when tomatoes were artificially inoculated. We demonstrated that high reductions of L. innocua population on fresh tomatoes could be achieved using the WUVC system but some drawbacks related to the increase of turbidity should be solved for its implementation in real conditions.
Journal or Serie
Food Microbiology, 2021, vol. 94, p. 103631