CHLORINE DIOXIDE RELEASING PACKAGING SYSTEMS TO IMPROVE MICROBIAL SAFETY OF FRESH-CUT PRODUCE

Project Details

Description

Chlorine dioxide (ClO2) is traditionally applied in the washing of fresh produce in order to remove dirt and inactivate microorganisms on the surface. This washing process has been found to be effective for lettuce, cabbage, green bell pepper, baby carrot, apple, tomato, mungbean sprout, and blueberry. However, the washing process has two disadvantages: (1) due to high surface tension of water, ClO2 in the aqueous phase cannot access the hard-to-reach areas such as pores and crevices on fresh produce where microbes are usually attached, and (2) once the washing process is completed, ClO2 is no longer available to combat the surviving microbes. Recently, these limitations have motivated scientists to explore the use of ClO2 gas treatment to complement the washing process. ClO2 gas can penetrate the areas inaccessible by washing. In fact, the use of ClO2 gas treatment has shown to be effective in microbial inactivation for a number of fresh produce products including lettuce, cabbage, green bell pepper, baby carrot, apple, tomato, blueberry, and so on. A possible but not preferable approach to apply the gas treatment is to gas flush the package with ClO2. Due to the unstable and explosive nature of ClO2, transportation and storage of this gas should be avoided. Hence this approach requires that ClO2 be generated onsite upon demand in the food manufacturing plant. Installing a ClO2 generator is either not feasible or too expensive for many fresh produce companies. A better approach is to develop an innovative ClO2 releasing packaging system to release ClO2 in a slow and controlled manner to provide the most benefit. Therefore, the objective of this project is to develop a packaging system that can generate and release chlorine dioxide in a controlled manner to improve the quality and microbial safety of fresh-cut produce. This package system may be used alone, or in combination with other technologies such as modified atmosphere packaging and controlled release packaging, to provide the most cost effective solution for the particular application.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date12/6/1311/30/18

Funding

  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))

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