Research – Effects of Combined Aerosolization with Ultraviolet C Light-Emitting Diode on Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus Attached to Soft Fresh Produce

MDPI

Washing soft fresh produce such as strawberries, baby leaves, and sliced onions with sanitizing agents is challenging due to their fragile texture. Thus, treatments like aerosolization using slightly acidic electrolyzed water (SAEW) and ultraviolet C light-emitting diode (UVC LED) irradiation may be good alternatives. In the present study, the reduction effects of a combined treatment of aerosolization using SAEW and UVC LED irradiation on enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) and Staphylococcus aureus attached to strawberries, baby leaves, and sliced onions were investigated. The behaviours of EHEC and S. aureus, moisture loss, colour measurement, and visual appearance were also analyzed at 10 and 15 °C for 7 days. The reduction effect of the combined treatment with 100 SAEW and UVC LED was higher (0.53–0.92 log CFU g−1) than a single aerosolization treatment (0.11–0.41 log CFU g−1), regardless of samples or pathogens. A greater effect on EHEC and S. aureus reduction was observed in strawberries (0.74 and 0.92 log CFU g−1) than in baby leaves (0.62 and 0.53 log CFU g−1) and sliced onions (0.55 and 0.62 log CFU g−1). The combined treatment further reduced the EHEC and S. aureus populations in strawberries during 7 days of storage at 10 and 15 °C. However, the EHEC and S. aureus populations were maintained in baby leaves and sliced onions at 10 °C for 7 days. Additionally, the greatest effect on the maintenance of colour and appearance was obtained in the combined treatment. Since the combined treatment reduces EHEC and S. aureus populations and preserves visual quality, it could be expected to extend the shelf life of soft fresh produce at the retailer stage of the supply chain. View Full-Text

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