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Can J Microbiol. 2007 Jul;53(7):813-21.

Pulsed-light system as a novel food decontamination technology: a review.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Analyse, de Traitement et de Valorisation des Polluants de l'Environnement et de Produits. Faculte de Pharmacie de Monastir, rue Avicenne, 5000 Monastir, Tunisie.


In response to consumer preferences for high quality foods that are as close as possible to fresh products, athermal technologies are being developed to obtain products with high levels of organoleptic and nutritional quality but free of any health risks. Pulsed light is a novel technology that rapidly inactivates pathogenic and food spoilage microorganisms. It appears to constitute a good alternative or a complement to conventional thermal or chemical decontamination processes. This food preservation method involves the use of intense, short-duration pulses of broad-spectrum light. The germicidal effect appears to be due to both photochemical and photothermal effects. Several high intensity flashes of broad spectrum light pulsed per second can inactivate microbes rapidly and effectively. However, the efficacy of pulsed light may be limited by its low degree of penetration, as microorganisms are only inactivated on the surface of foods or in transparent media such as water. Examples of applications to foods are presented, including microbial inactivation and effects on food matrices.

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