The objective of this cooperative research project is to develop an understanding of inactivation of pathogens (Escherichia coli O157:H7 or Listeria monocytogenes 10403S) which reside in protected environments using two gas phase disinfection methods, chorine dioxide and atmospheric non-thermal plasma. Specifically, this approach will provide data on inactivation dynamics for use in models to predict the efficacy of a reactive gas in a particular environment, improve the design of processing equipment, and improve procedures for intervention strategies.
APPROACH: <OL> <LI>Develop flow-through enclosures with fabricated micro-environments for integration with bioreporter technology, a multi-technique imaging test bed to monitor inactivation of pathogens, and the chlorine dioxide and atmospheric non-thermal plasma generators. <LI>Test standard/approved aqueous and emerging gas phase decontamination methods to compare efficacies of treatment for flat surfaces and fabricated surfaces containing protected environments. Specifically, the effects of environmental conditions (such as temperature and relative humidity), interferences (such as organic load), and confined spaces on the effectiveness of gas phase inactivation technology will be tested. <LI>Use empirical data and analytical models to predict concentration of anti-microbial agents required to inactivate surface-associated E. coli O157:H7 and L. monocytogenes 10403S in a given control point. <LI> Use the results to suggest hygienic design criteria for processing equipment and disinfection procedures as new intervention strategies for treating E. coli O157:H7 and L. monocytogenes 10403S contaminated surfaces. <LI>Develop a non-thermal food processing workshop on novel technologies including atmospheric, non thermal plasma and chlorine dioxide.