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Int J Food Microbiol. 2012 Jun 15;157(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2012.02.016. Epub 2012 Feb 24.

Low Temperature Plasma for decontamination of E. coli in milk.

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Department of Genetics and Bioengineering, Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkey.


Raw milk is a natural, highly nutritious product and a quick and easy supplement for human dietary requirements. Elimination of bacteria in milk has been a problem for decades and new methods with regards to non-thermal applications which do not harm the chemical composition of milk, are currently under investigation. The objective of the study was to determine the potential use of a novel, Low Temperature Plasma (LTP) system for its capability of killing Escherichia coli in milk with different fat contents. The time dependent effect of atmospheric corona discharge generated with 9kV of AC power supply on E. coli ATCC 25922 dispersed in whole, semi skimmed and skimmed milk was examined. Plasma was applied at time intervals of 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 and 20min. A significant 54% reduction in the population of E. coli cells after only 3min was observed regardless of the fat content of the milk. The initial pre-plasma bacterial count of 7.78 Log CFU/ml in whole milk was decreased to 3.63 Log CFU/ml after 20min of plasma application. LTP did not cause any significant change to the pH and color values of raw milk samples. No viable cells were detected after one week examination in whole milk samples and remained so over the 6week storage period. The findings of this study show that the novel LTP system tested was able to significantly reduce E. coli in milk by more than a 3 fold log reduction without significantly affecting pH or color properties.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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