An official website of the United States government.

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Application of Dielectric Heating to Kill Human Pathogenic Bacteria on Alfalfa Seeds

Beuchat, Larry
University of Georgia
Start date
End date
To evaluate radio-frequency (RF) dielectric heating for the reduction of human pathogens, including strains of E. coli and Salmonella and L. monocytogenes, on alfalfa seed for the production of sprouts, and for simultaneous enhancement of seed germination. Bacterial population reductions of 5logCFU/g will be sought without adverse effects on vigor of sprout growth or sensory quality of sprouts.
More information
Mixtures of five strains of each pathogen will be separately inoculated onto alfalfa seed selected from seed lots in curent use in the alfalfa sprouting industry. Samples of inoculated and uninoculated alfalfa seed will be packaged in suitable polystyrene boxes that will be sealed for exposure to RF dielectric heating at a frquency of abot 40 MHz under specified electrif field intensities between about 1 and 1.5 kV/cm for exposure times selected to produce seed temperatures ranging from about 70 to 90 degrees C. Treated and control samples will be evaluated to determine efficacy of different treatments for reduction of bacterial populations. Germination tests on the treated and untreated control seed samples will be conducted to determine any differences in germination percentages and sprouting vigor as determined by sprout appearance, turgor and color.
Funding Source
Agricultural Research Service
Project number
Escherichia coli