Inactivation of microbial contaminants in fresh produce

AGFD 136

Brendan A Niemira, brendan.niemira@ars.usda.gov, Eastern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, 600 E. Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, PA 19038
With the microbial safety of fresh produce of increasing concern, conventional sanitizing treatments need to be supplemented with effective new interventions to inactivate human pathogens. Our research group investigates physical and chemical treatments such as hot water pasteurization, gaseous chlorine dioxide, cold plasma and irradiation. Research in biological controls deals with the use of single or multiple isolates of antagonistic bacteria for inhibiting the outgrowth of bacterial human pathogens. Related research in microbial ecology determines how pathogen biofilm formation and interactions with native microflora may alter the efficacy of applied treatments and interventions. This presentation will summarize the advances made in these areas, as well as research results on the process of scaling up effective interventions from laboratory scale to pilot plant scale, including the critical process of evaluating the effects of the various interventions on sensory and nutritional quality attributes, yield, physiology, and shelf-life.