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Int J Food Microbiol. 2004 Jan 1;90(1):1-8.

Inhibition of pathogens on fresh produce by ultraviolet energy.

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  • 1Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.


Ultraviolet energy at a wavelength of 253.7 nm (UVC) was investigated for its bactericidal effects on the surface of Red Delicious apples, leaf lettuce and tomatoes inoculated with cultures of Salmonella spp. or Escherichia coli O157:H7. Inoculated samples were subjected to different doses ranging from 1.5 to 24 mW/cm(2) of UVC and enumerated on tryptic soy agar plus 0.05 g/l nalidixic acid to determine effective log reductions of microbial populations. UVC applied to apples inoculated with E. coli O157:H7 resulted in the highest log reduction of approximately 3.3 logs at 24 mW/cm(2). Lower log reductions were seen on tomatoes inoculated with Salmonella spp. (2.19 logs) and green leaf lettuce inoculated with both Salmonella spp. and E. coli O157:H7 (2.65 and 2.79, respectively). No significant statistical difference (p>0.05) was seen in the ability of UVC to inactivate a higher population of either Salmonella spp. or E. coli O157:H7 on the surface of green leaf lettuce. No significant difference was seen among the use of different doses applied to the surface of fresh produce for reduction of E. coli O157:H7 or Salmonella spp. (p>0.05). The use of UVC may prove to be beneficial in protecting the safety of fruits and vegetables in conjunction with Good Agricultural Practices and Good Manufacturing Practices.

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