Author: Dr Sukhvinder Pal (SP) Singh
A decontamination technology to reduce food safety risks in horticultural products
What is the need?
Improving food safety can provide a competitive advantage for Australian horticultural industries. Foodborne illnesses caused by microbial contamination in fresh produce and nuts can lead to product recalls, loss of consumer confidence and trade disruption – all of which cause economic losses to industry.
What is cold plasma?
Cold plasma is created by applying an electric current to normal air or a gas. This produces reactive gaseous species found to have broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity. Cold plasma is effective at temperatures slightly above ambient, which means produce can be treated without being heated.
What are the benefits?
- Improved food safety and reduced postharvest losses due to decay
- Treatment time of a few seconds to minutes
- Energy efficient treatment with zero chemical residue
- To develop a decontamination technology based on cold plasma that can kill or inactivate foodborne pathogens and rot-causing microbes on fresh produce
- Collaboration with technology partner(s) and horticultural industries to validate, scale-up and commercialise this technology
- A new tool to reduce food safety risks to consumers and industry
- More competitive Australian horticultural industries in both domestic and export markets
Horticultural growers, processors and packers of commodities such as:
- Fruit: apple, blueberry, citrus, strawberry
- Nuts: macadamia and almonds
- Vegetables: spinach and lettuce
- Fresh-cut fruit and vegetables