Semester of Graduation

Fall 2021

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Food Science

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Microorganisms may attach firmly to produce matrices and could affect the efficacy of disinfectants. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of aeration to reduce microbial risk during washing and sanitizing of fresh produce. Bell peppers and cucumbers were spot inoculated with Listeria innocua, E. coli O157:H7, and Salmonella; after drying in the biosafety cabinet for 1h, these were washed with water or sanitized with 100 ppm of chlorine for 3 min with or without aeration. Bell pepper and cucumber samples were placed in sterile bags with PBS after treatment. Bell peppers were processed in the stomacher while cucumber samples were hand massaged. Washing with water only was not effective in reducing the level of L. innocua significantly (P>0.05) from cucumbers and bell peppers. A greater reduction (PL. innocua was achieved when washing cucumbers in chlorinated water without aeration (1.13 Log CFU/cm2 reduction) and with aeration (3.65 Log CFU/cm2 reduction) compared to the control. On bell peppers, significant reductions were observed when these were washed with water with aeration (1.96 log CFU/g reduction), and chlorinated water with aeration (1.91 log CFU/g reduction) and without aeration (2.49 log CFU/g reduction) compared to the control. Washing with water only was effective in reducing the level of Salmonella enterica significantly (P2 of Salmonella on cucumbers to below the detection limit (0.16 Log CFU/cm2). The most significant reduction of Salmonella from bell peppers was observed when washing with chlorinated water with aeration (2.48 Log CFU/g reduction) compared to the control. Listeria innocua, E. coli O157:H7, and Salmonella levels in wash water with aeration and without aeration were significantly greater (P

Committee Chair

Adhikari, Achyut

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