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Use of ultrasonication to enhance pea seed germination and microbial quality of pea sprouts



This study investigated the effects of ultrasonication, heating and chemical washing on decontamination of seeds of three pea (Pisum sativum) varieties and the microbial safety of their sprouts. Most of the decontamination treatments increased germination, decreased microbial load and enhanced sprout growth. Ultrasonication and NaOCl treatments reduced total aerobic counts on sprouts by 5.86 and 5.51 log units (averages of three varieties), respectively; while other chemical treatments (350 mL L−1 ethanol, 350 mL L−1 vinegar and 10 g L−1 NaCl solutions) failed to reduce total aerobic counts sufficiently enough to secure microbial safety. The ultrasonication not only improved germination (increased from an average of 83 to 97%), but also reduced the total aerobic counts to 2.21 log10 CFU g−1 on seed sprouts. Ultrasonication also increased the sprouts yield to 301.83 g per 10 g seeds. Therefore, ultrasonication can be used as a microbial control treatment for pea sprout production.