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Food Microbiol. 2015 Apr;46:479-484. doi: 10.1016/j.fm.2014.09.010. Epub 2014 Sep 26.

Atmospheric cold plasma inactivation of aerobic microorganisms on blueberries and effects on quality attributes.

Author information

1
Food Safety and Intervention Technology Research Unit, United States Department of Agriculture, Eastern Regional Research Center, 600 Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, PA 19038, USA.
2
Food Safety and Intervention Technology Research Unit, United States Department of Agriculture, Eastern Regional Research Center, 600 Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, PA 19038, USA. Electronic address: Brendan.Niemira@ars.usda.gov.
3
Residue Chemistry and Predicative Microbiology Research Unit, United States Department of Agriculture, Eastern Regional Research Center, 600 Mermaid Ln, Wyndmoor, PA 19038, USA.
4
Department of Food and Animal Sciences, University of Delaware, 20 Townsend Hall, Newark, DE 19716, USA.

Abstract

Cold plasma (CP) is a novel nonthermal technology, potentially useful in food processing settings. Berries were treated with atmospheric CP for 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, or 120 s at a working distance of 7.5 cm with a mixture of 4 cubic feet/minute (cfm) of CP jet and 7 cfm of ambient air. Blueberries were sampled for total aerobic plate count (APC) and yeast/molds immediately after treatment and at 1, 2, and 7 days. Blueberries were also analyzed for compression firmness, surface color, and total anthocyanins immediately after each treatment. All treatments with CP significantly (P < 0.05) reduced APC after exposure, with reductions ranging from 0.8 to 1.6 log CFU/g and 1.5 to 2.0 log CFU/g compared to the control after 1 and 7 days, respectively. Treatments longer than 60s resulted in significant reductions in firmness, although it was demonstrated that collisions between the berries and the container contributed significantly to softening. A significant reduction in anthocyanins was observed after 90 s. The surface color measurements were significantly impacted after 120 s for the L* and a* values and 45 s for the b* values. CP can inactivate microorganisms on blueberries and could be optimized to improve the safety and quality of produce.

KEYWORDS:

Blueberry; Cold plasma; Microflora; Quality; Sensory attributes; Storage

PMID:
25475318
DOI:
10.1016/j.fm.2014.09.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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