Pulsed ultraviolet light can be an alternative to some of the antimicrobial technologies now used in the poultry industry to kill pathogens, according to researchers at Pennsylvania State University. By reducing the microbial load on eggshells, foodborne illness associated with eggs and poultry meat can be reduced while chick health is maintained.
Paul Patterson, a professor of poultry science at Penn State, said the technology has merit for commercial application. The research team applied components of standard egg processing to a conveyor and sanitized eggs in a commercial setting, he said.
In the study eggshells were inoculated with nonpathogenic bacterial strains used for research. They were treated with pulsed ultraviolet light derived from a xenon flashlamp. Eggs were exposed on a modified egg-carrying conveyor that provided complete rotation of eggs under the flashlamp.
The researchers found that pulsed ultraviolet light treatment inactivated two different microbial strains with greater energy.