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J Food Prot. 2001 Jan;64(1):113-6.

Bactericidal effects of negative air ions on airborne and surface Salmonella enteritidis from an artificially generated aerosol.

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USDA/ARS Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, Athens, Georgia 30605, USA.


The bactericidal effect of high levels of negative ions was studied using a custom-built electrostatic space charge device. To investigate whether the ion-enriched air exerted a bactericidal effect, an aerosol containing Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) was pumped into a sealed plastic chamber. Plates of XLT4 agar were attached to the walls, top, and bottom of the chamber and exposed to the aerosol for 3 h with and without the ionizer treatment. The plates were then removed from the chamber, incubated at 37 degrees C for 24 h, and colonies were counted. An average of greater than 10(3) CFU/plate were observed on plates exposed to the aerosol without the ionizer treatment (control) compared with an average of less than 53 CFU/plate on the ionizer-treated plates. In another series of experiments, the SE aerosol was pumped for 3 h into an empty chamber containing only the ionizer and allowed to collect on the internal surfaces. The inside surfaces of the chamber were then rinsed with 100 ml phosphate-buffered saline that was then plated onto XLT4 plates. While the rinse from the control chamber contained colony counts greater than 400 CFU/ml of wash, no colonies were found in the rinse from the ionizer-treatment chamber. These results indicate that high levels of negative air ions can have a significant impact on the airborne microbial load, and that most of this effect is through direct killing of the organisms. This technology, which also causes significant reduction in airborne dust, has already been successfully applied for poultry hatching cabinets and caged layer rooms. Other potential applications include any enclosed space such as food processing areas, medical institutions, the workplace, and the home, where reduction of airborne and surface pathogens is desired.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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