Develop methods to decontaminate alfalfa seed and sprouts of the human pathogens Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes by treatment with ozone.
Ozonated water will be generated in the laboratory and various modes of introduction will be studied for decontamination of alfalfa seed laboratory-inoculated with pathogen cocktails containing either E. coli O157:H7 or L. monocytogenes. Various concentrations (2,4,6,8 and 10 mg/L) of ozone, various contact times (1,2,4,8 and 16 min) and the effect of agitation of treatment efficacy will be evaluated. The effect of ozone treatment on the formation and viability of biofilms on sprout surfaces will be examined by use of a confocal scanning laser microscope. Technologies will be transferred to sprout growers through the International Sprout Growers Association, Amherst, MA, and through technical publications.