The main goal of this integrated, multidisciplinary, multi-institutional project is to reduce the microbial risks associated with non-thermally processed apple juice. The proposed processing based strategy will ensure the safety of apple juice, while retaining its freshness, nutritional and sensory properties, and extending its shelf life. <P>In order to accomplish these goals, the following specific objectives are proposed: <OL> <LI>Conduct research to develop and optimize combination MF + UV treatments that effectively ensure a 5-log reduction of pathogens (E. coli O157:H7 and Cryptosporidium parvum) in non-thermally processed apple juice. <LI> Develop outreach and extension activities, including hands-on workshops and education materials, in order to educate cider producers on the use of the developed combination treatments for enhancing the safety of non-thermally processed apple juice. <LI>Develop senior undergraduate / graduate level education materials on the use of hurdle technologies for ensuring the safety of minimally processed foods, using the combination MF - UV treatment of apple juice as a case study. </OL>The main outcomes of the project will be: <OL> <LI>Research. Optimized combination treatments (Microfiltration and UV) able to ensure a 5-log reduction of pathogens in apple juice, while preserving the freshness and sensory quality of the processed juice, and extending its shelf life. <LI>Extension. An array of educational materials and programs tailored to educate juice/cider processors, extension educators and regulatory personnel on safe production of non-thermally processed apple juice by the use of MF-UV process. <LI>Teaching. Training of undergraduate and graduate students in theoretical and practical aspects of hurdle technologies. The developed education materials will have educational benefits well beyond the duration of the project.
<P> Approach: The following strategy of achieving the proposed objectives will be employed: Research activities. 1.Develop and optimize MF+UV combination treatments. A series of well designed MF and UV experiment will be carried out, in order to optimize the processing conditions. 2.Conduct an E. coli O157:H7 challenge study in order to test the 5-log reduction capability of the process. 3.Test the ability of the process to remove Cryptosporidium parvum. 4.Evaluate the effect of the combination treatments on juice quality. Extension and outreach activities. 1.Develop extension workshops. Based on the results of the research component of this project and of any other relevant research conducted by other researchers, we will develop a workshop program to cover all aspects of safe apple juice and cider production. 2.Develop educational materials. In addition to the workshops, the PD and CoPDs will develop educational materials appropriate for juice producers, extension educators and regulatory personnel to disseminate the knowledge generated by this project. We will develop handouts for training sessions, fact sheets, short pamphlets and short presentations that explain the new MF+UV technology for safe apple juice production. The materials will be available in electronic format for wide distribution via CDs, website and email, and will incorporate video/audio clips, pictures, diagrams and recordkeeping forms. 3.Conduct workshops in all several states including NY, PA, WI, MI, IO, IL, CT, VT and MA. The workshops will be promoted through announcements on academic websites, including the collaborating institutions' sites, industry organizations, websites, listserves, extension programs and direct contacts with cider/juice producers. 4.Evaluate the extension and outreach activities. All educational resources developed, will receive individual evaluations by users through surveys/questionnaires. Education activities. 1.Develop senior undergraduate / graduate level education materials on the use of hurdle technologies for ensuring the safety of minimally processed foods, using the MF + UV treatment of apple juice as a case study. 2.Dissemination of teaching modules. The formal education materials that will be developed as part of the project will be incorporated in the senior level and graduate level classes at Cornell University, and will also be distributed to the participating institutions, as well as other Food Science Departments in the country. 3.Evaluation of teaching modules. The quality and effectiveness of the teaching modules will be subjected to both peer evaluation and student evaluation. The peer evaluation will be done both at Cornell University and by peers from other institutions.