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Influence of plasma-treated air on surface microbial communities on freshly harvested lettuce

Winter, H., Wagner, R., Yao, Y., Ehlbeck, J. and Schnabel, U. (2023) Influence of plasma-treated air on surface microbial communities on freshly harvested lettuce. Current research in food science, 7. 100649. ISSN 2665-9271

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.crfs.2023.100649


Plant-based foods like lettuce are an important part of the human diet and worldwide industry. On a global scale, the number of food-associated illnesses increased in the last decades. Conventional lettuce sanitation methods include cleaning either with tap or chloritized water. Beside these water-consuming strategies, physical plasma is an innovative and effective possibility for food sanitation. Recent studies with plasma-treated water showed an effective reduction of the microbial load. Plasma-processed air (PPA) is another great opportunity to reduce the microbial load and save water. To test the efficiency of PPA, the surface microbiome of treated lettuce was analyzed via proliferation assays with special agars, live/dead assays and tests for respiratory activity of the microorganisms. PPA showed a reduction of the colony forming units (CFU/mL) on all tested microbial groups (Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, yeasts and molds). These results were supported by the live/dead assay. For further insights, the PPA-ingredients were detected with Fourier Transformation Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), which revealed NO , NO and N O as the main reactive species in the PPA. In the future, PPA could be an outstanding, on-demand sanitation step for higher food safety standards, especially in situations where humidity and high temperature should be avoided.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences
ID Code:114515
Uncontrolled Keywords:Microwave-driven plasma, Microbiome, Food safety, Food sanitation, Fungi, Mold, Physical plasma, Yeast, Gram-negative bacteria, Plasma gas


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