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Atmospheric Plasma Processing to Kill Pathogen and Extend Shelf Life of Produce

Investigators
Kelly-Wintenberg, Kimberly; Karlstad, Michael D
Institutions
Advanced Plasma Products, Inc
Start date
2012
End date
2013
Objective

DESCRIPTION: This SBIR Phase I project will design, build, and test the Atmospheric Plasma Produce Disinfection System (APPDS), an in-line processing unit that will operate continuously to treat fresh produce. The APPDS will reduce the risk of foodborne infections by neutralizing pathogens, while decreasing microbial spoilage, preserving the organoleptic properties and nutritional quality of the produce while avoiding the deposit of unwanted by-products. The proposed development will leverage several years of R&D concerning the application of atmospheric plasma to the destruction of infectious agents, including preliminary investigation into the efficacy of the One Atmosphere Uniform Glow Discharge Plasma in disinfecting fresh produce. In this Phase I effort, an inline plasma processing system will be developed to continuously treat several different types of fresh fruits and vegetables. Investigations into plasma power, number and orientation of plasma generators, temperature, humidity and treatment time will optimize the APDDS. Pathogen reduction of at least 4 logs and shelf life extension will be studied as well as any modifications of the nutritional content of plasma treated fruit and vegetable samples. It is estimated that total costs of foodborne illness in the United States is $152 billion annually, with $39 billion attributed to produce. CDC estimates that 1 out of 6 Americans gets sick each year, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases and 25% of those cases are due to contaminated fresh produce. There is an overwhelming need to develop technologies that will reduce spoilage and reduce the number of pathogens on fresh produce without altering taste or nutrition. Reduction of post-harvest losses would translate into a reduction in the cost of production, trade and distribution and reduce the price for consumers. An additional benefit would be to make available fresh, healthy, and more economically-priced, minimally-processed fruits and vegetables for all. It is well known that fruits and vegetables are nutritionally necessary, and are the cornerstone of a healthful diet, offering great benefits to public health such as fighting obesity.
PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: There is an overwhelming need to develop technologies that will reduce spoilage and reduce the number of pathogens on fresh produce without altering taste or nutrition. An added benefit would be to make available fresh, healthy, and more economically-priced, minimally-processed fruits and vegetables for all since fruits and vegetables are nutritionally necessary, and are the cornerstone of a healthful diet, offering great benefits to public health such as fighting obesity. APP is developing the Atmospheric Plasma Produce Disinfection System (APPDS), an inline processor to continuously treat fresh produce to minimize food borne illness outbreaks and increase shelf life by reducing the number of pathogen and spoilage organisms.

Funding Source
Food and Drug Administration
Project source
View this project
Project number
1R43FD004304-01
Categories
Bacterial Pathogens
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication