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Enhancing the Safety and Quality of Fresh Produce and Low-Moisture Foods by Waterless Non-Thermal Technologies

Niemira, Brendan
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
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The research objectives of the project are to: 1) Determine the efficacy of cold plasma, monochromatic blue light, pulsed light, gaseous chlorine dioxide, and ozone against foodborne pathogens including bacteria, viruses, and parasites in produce and LMF (considering already-published studies, so as not to duplicate previous work). 2) Elucidate the mechanisms of pathogen inactivation by waterless, non-thermal processing technologies, and determine the interactions among the treatment, environmental conditions, and product characteristics. 3) Develop new equipment and processing protocols or incorporate the technologies and knowhow into food processing and distribution. The education objectives of the project are to: 1) Develop a “Foodborne Contamination-Impact on Food Safety” course and an “Emerging Non-thermal Technologies” course. 2) Train students in emerging non-thermal technologies, parasitology, microbiology, virology, and food safety. The outreach objectives of the project are to: 1) Provide knowledge about the development of new non-thermal processing technologies and educate processors about sustainability, energy savings, and water use efficiency. 2) Create a multidisciplinary conversation, including with experts in food science and technology, food engineering, microbiology, chemistry, food and nutrition, food safety and quality evaluation, program performance evaluation, economics, and behavioral and social sciences. 3) Involve manufacturing industry partners in equipment design, automation/control, and assessment of adaptability/suitability for commercial success.
Funding Source
Agricultural Research Service
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Education and Training
Bacterial Pathogens
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Chemical Contaminants