The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of the milling degree (MD) of Oryza sativa L. (Korean rice) on the heating rate, pathogen inactivation (Salmonella Typhimurium and Staphylococcus aureus), and color change resulting from radio-frequency (RF) heating. Rice samples inoculated with pathogens were placed in a polypropylene jar and subjected to RF heating for 0-75 s. The heating rate of rice with a 2% MD was the highest during RF heating, followed by those with a 0, 8, and 10% MD, and the reduction of pathogens showed the same trend. The reduction of the levels of pathogens in rice with a MD 0 and 2% was significantly higher than that observed for rice with a MD of 8 and 10% under the same treatment conditions. For example, log reductions of S. Typhimurium in rice by 55 s RF heating were 3.64, 5.19, 2.18, and 1.80 for milling degree of 0, 2, 8, and 10%, respectively. At the same treatment conditions, log reduction of S. aureus were 2.77, 5.08, 1.15, and 0.90 for milling degree of 0, 2, 8, and 10%, respectively. The color of rice measured according to L*, a*, and b* was not significantly altered after RF heating, regardless of the MD. Therefore, the MD of rice should be considered before RF heating is applied to inactivate foodborne pathogens.
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