Other Gasesvapors 1851 Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor

The use of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an antimicrobial for several food processing applications, such as disinfection of aseptic packaging materials and equipment, processing of cheese and modified whey, and production of thermophile-free starch [109]. Washes with aqueous H2O2, or commercial sanitizers containing H2O2, have been studied in laboratories for disinfection and/or decontamination of fresh or minimally processed fruits and vegetables [109115]. Additionally, vapor-phase H2O2 has been evaluated for the decontamination of fruits and vegetables, due to its sporicidal properties against bacillus spores and food spoilage microbes [116-118]. Forney et al. [119] treated table grapes inoculated with Botrytis cinerea spores with H2O2 vapor generated from 30 to 35% H2O2 solution at 40°C for 10 minutes. After the treatment, and a 24-hour storage period at 10°C, the number of germinable spores was reduced by 60% or more, and the incidence of decay was also reduced after 12 day storage at 10°C. In another study, Simmons et al. [120] applied 3.1mg/l H2O2 vapor to dried prunes for 0 to 60 minutes at ambient room temperature (20 to 26°C). More than 2 log CFU/g reductions in total plate count (TPC), yeast, and mold counts were observed after the treatment for 10 minutes. However, some oxidation damage was observed in prunes treated for greater than 20 minutes. Other studies have shown that H2O2 vapor is effective in reducing spoilage microbial counts on whole cantaloupes, raisins, and walnut nut meat [109]. Sapers et al. [121] also evaluated the use of H2O2 vapor to extend the shelf life of various other fresh and fresh-cut commodities. Produce samples were exposed to H2O2 vapor for 2 to 15 minutes at injection rates of 2.5 or 5g of H2O2/min. The treatment appeared to delay or diminish the severity of bacterial soft rot in fresh cut cucumber, green bell pepper, and zucchini. No effect on spoilage of fresh-cut broccoli, carrot, cauliflower, or celery, or fresh raspberries and strawberries was observed. More recently, Sapers et al. [110] studied decontamination of apples using H2O2 vapor generated from 35% H2O2 solution at 150°C in a pressurized vessel. The treatment led to a 1.7 log CFU/g reduction of E. coli on apples when three treatment cycles were applied over 5 minutes, which was less than those that would be obtained with a 5% H2O2 wash [112].

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