Antimicrobial Properties of Aqueous and Gaseous Cl02

ClO2 is strong oxidizing agent that has broad and high biocidal effectiveness. Aqueous ClO2 effectively inactivates bacteria [14-18] including human pathogens [19-21] and bacterial spores [14,24], viruses [22,23], and algae [25]. ClO2 has approximately 2.5 times the oxidation capacity of chlorine [15] and has been shown to produce a bactericidal effect equivalent to seven times that of chlorine at the same concentration in poultry processing water [26]. Advantages of ClO2 over chlorine also include effectiveness at low concentration, nonconversion to chlorophenols that result in residual odors and off-flavors, ability to remove chlorophenols already present from other sources, effectiveness at high and low pH values, and inability to react with ammonia or humic acid to produce harmful chloramines and trihalomethanes [27]. Therefore, the use of ClO2 as an alternative disinfectant to chlorine is attractive not only in the drinking water industry but also in the food industry.

Gaseous ClO2 has been used successfully for sterilization of medical implements in the medical science area for years [2,3,28]. More recently gaseous ClO2 was used to decontaminate B. anthracis contaminated areas of the Hart senate office building and the Brentwood postal sorting facility in Washington D.C. [29] (Table 18.2). In recent years additional applications of gaseous ClO2 in the food industry have been studied. Research has demonstrated that ClO2 gas is highly effective in reducing foodborne pathogens on fruit and vegetable surfaces [31-34], spoiled orange juice isolates from epoxy-coated storage tank surfaces [5], and bacillus spores on paper, plastic, epoxy-coated stainless steel, and wood surfaces [30] (Table 18.2). These results have demonstrated that ClO2 gas treatments are a promising surface decontamination technology which could be applicable to the food industry. The efficacy and potential applications of ClO2 gas treatment for decontamination of fruit and vegetables are reviewed later in this chapter.

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