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J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jul 23;56(14):5723-31. doi: 10.1021/jf800681a. Epub 2008 Jun 27.

Effect of decontamination agents on the microbial population, sensorial quality, and nutrient content of grated carrots (Daucus carota L.).

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Department of Food Safety and Food Quality, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium.


Several decontamination agents including water, sodium hypochlorite, peroxyacetic acid, neutral electrolyzed oxidizing water, and chlorine dioxide gas were tested for their effectiveness to reduce the natural microflora on grated carrots. Microbial reductions of the total aerobic count obtained after the different treatments varied between 0.11 and 3.29 log colony-forming units (cfu)/g. Whether or not a decontamination step induced significant changes in the sensory attributes of grated carrots is highly dependent on the type and concentration of disinfectant. To maintain the nutritional value, the influence of the decontamination agents on carotenoid content, alpha-tocopherol content, total phenols, and antioxidant capacity was studied. Besides the part of the nutrients that was leached away from the cutting areas by water, the nutrient losses caused by adding sanitizers were rather limited. Compared with the untreated carrots alpha-tocopherol content was, however, significantly reduced when 250 ppm of peroxyacetic acid (-80%) or 200 ppm of sodium hypochlorite (-59%) was used. Additional losses in carotenoid content were caused by contact with chlorine dioxide gas (-9%). On the condition of an optimized decontamination process toward time and concentration, the microbial quality of fresh-cut carrots could be improved without negatively influencing their sensory quality and nutrient content.

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