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Keywords:

  • blueberries;
  • decontamination;
  • E. coli;
  • novel technologies;
  • pathogens

ABSTRACT:  Efficacy of gaseous ozone, aqueous ozone, and pulsed UV-light was evaluated for the purpose of decontaminating blueberries artificially contaminated with either Escherichia coli O157:H7 or Salmonella. Blueberries were exposed to 4 different gaseous ozone treatments: continuous ozone exposure, pressurized ozone exposure, and 2 combined treatments. Maximum reductions of Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 after 64-min pressurized or 64-min continuous exposure were 3.0 and 2.2 log10 CFU/g, respectively. Aqueous ozone experiments were conducted at 20 °C and 4 °C and zero plate counts were observed for E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella after 64 min of ozone exposure at 20 °C. Finally, pulsed UV-light was evaluated at 3 different distances from the light. Maximum reductions of 4.3 and 2.9 log10 CFU/g were observed at 8 cm from the light after 60 s of treatment for Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7, respectively. A sensory analysis as well as color analysis was performed on blueberries from each treatment agent; neither analysis detected a difference between treated and untreated blueberries. The results presented in this study indicate that ozone and pulsed UV-light are good candidates for decontamination of blueberries.