Give that fruit some UV

By 24. July 2015Blog, Health, Risk Management

When packaging fruit and vegetables for sale it is common practise to apply some kind of aqueous sanitizer or even mechanical brushing to help slow down spoilage.

However, many soft fruits such as raspberries, blackberries, tayberries etc. are too delicate to withstand the mechanical brushing. With this in mind researchers at Washington State University and Louisiana State University AgCenter treated various fruits with UV-C light, at a wavelength of 254nm that is particularly good at destroying the DNA of bacteria on the fruit surface.

The researchers looked in particular at the “UV-C light inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes on the surface of organic apples, pears, strawberries, red raspberries and cantaloupe [melon]s.”

They found that the levels of E.coli and L. Monocytogenes were reduced more on apples and pears than on the strawberries, red raspberries and cantaloupe.  Apparently this is due to the surface of the apples and pears being smooth while the surface of the other fruits is rough. They conclude that UV-C can be used to reduce bacteria on fruit surface but that the surface had a big effect on the effectiveness of the treatment.

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