Research – Effect of Chlorine Dioxide Treatment on Human Pathogens on Iceberg Lettuce

MDPI

In the vegetable processing industry, the application of chlorine dioxide (ClO2) as a disinfectant solved in washing water to eliminate undesirable microorganisms harmful to consumers’ health and the shelf life of produce has been discussed for years. The disinfection efficacy depends on various factors, e.g., the location of microorganisms and the organic load of the washing water. The present study analyzed the sanitation efficacy of various concentrations of water-solved ClO2 (cClO2: 20 and 30 mg L−1) on Escherichia coli (1.1 × 104 cfu mL−1), Salmonella enterica (2.0 × 104 cfu mL−1) and Listeria monocytogenes (1.7 × 105 cfu mL−1) loads, located on the leaf surface of iceberg lettuce assigned for fresh-cut salads. In addition, it examined the potential of ClO2 to prevent the cross-contamination of these microbes in lettuce washing water containing a chemical oxygen demand (COD) content of 350 mg L−1 after practice-relevant washing times of 1 and 2 min. On iceberg leaves, washing with 30 mg L−1 ClO2 pronouncedly (1 log) reduced loads of E. coli and S. enterica, while it only insignificantly (<0.5 × log) diminished the loads of L. monocytogenes, irrespective of the ClO2 concentration used. Although the sanitation efficacy of ClO2 washing was only limited, the addition of ClO2 to the washing water avoided cross-contamination even at high organic loads. Thus, the application of ClO2 to the lettuce washing water can improve product quality and consumer safety. View Full-Text

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