Potential Applications of Ozone in the Food Industry

Ozone is a strong antimicrobial agent in both gaseous and aqueous phases. It is well known that ozone is an effective disinfectant in water and waste-water treatments [55]. Ozone is 1.5 times more effective as an antimicrobial agent than chlorine. Additionally, ozone is much more effective for a wider spectrum of microorganisms than chlorine and other disinfectants [56]. It reacts up to 3000 times faster than chlorine with organic materials and produces no harmful decomposition products [57]. Numerous studies have focused on the inactivation of pathogens and spores by aqueous ozone, including Cryptosporidium parvum [58,59], Giardia spp. [60], bacillus and clostridium spores [61, 62], Salmonella Typhimurium, E. coli, Yersinia enterocolitica, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and L. monocytogenes [63].

Applications of ozone for enhancing the microbiological safety and quality of foods have been reviewed by Kim et al. [12] and Khadre et al. [52]. Most applications for the food industry focus on the use of ozonated water for sanitation of food-contact surfaces and foods, including fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, fish, cheese, and eggs. Although ozonated water has been shown to be an alternative to chlorinated water for decontamination of produce, its effectiveness in reducing microorganisms is less than 3 log CFU per gram or surface [12,52,65].

For more than half a century gaseous ozone as a disinfectant and/or preservative has also been applied in many areas in the food industry. Such applications include preservation of perishable foods, including fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry products, fish, cheese, spices, and eggs [12,52,56,66], grains [6,7,67], spices [12,68], decontamination of packaging materials [64,69], and decontamination of environmental air in food plants [12].

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