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Food Microbiol. 2013 Feb;33(1):24-9. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2012 Sep 3.

Inactivation of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium on fresh produce by cold atmospheric gas plasma technology.

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Institute of Food Research, Norwich Research Park, Norwich NR4 7UA, UK.


Cold atmospheric gas plasma treatment (CAP) is an alternative approach for the decontamination of fresh and minimally processed food. In this study, the effects of growth phase, growth temperature and chemical treatment regime on the inactivation of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) by Nitrogen CAP were examined. Furthermore, the efficacy of CAP treatment for decontaminating lettuce and strawberry surfaces and potato tissue inoculated with S. Typhimurium was evaluated. It was found that the rate of inactivation of S. Typhimurium was independent of the growth phase, growth temperature and chemical treatment regime. Under optimal conditions, a 2 min treatment resulted in a 2.71 log-reduction of S. Typhimurium viability on membrane filters whereas a 15 min treatment was necessary to achieve 2.72, 1.76 and 0.94 log-reductions of viability on lettuce, strawberry and potato, respectively. We suggest that the differing efficiency of CAP treatment on the inactivation of S. Typhimurium on these different types of fresh foods is a consequence of their surface features. Scanning electron microscopy of the surface structures of contaminated samples of lettuce, strawberry and potato revealed topographical features whereby S. Typhimurium cells could be protected from the active species generated by plasma.

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