Abstract: The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of individual sanitizing agents (sodium hypochlorite, SH; peracetic acid, PA; chlorine dioxide, CD) and the combination of CD and PA on reducing the total aerobic bacteria, coliforms as well as their effects on ascorbic acid (Vc), chlorophyll, and a* value of Chinese chives. All sanitizing treatments significantly (P < 0.05) reduced microorganisms compared to the control. After treatment with single SH, PA, and CD, the reduction of the total aerobic bacteria on Chinese chives was <1.0 log CFU/g (where colony-forming units is CFU), approximately 1.68 to 2.22 log CFU/g, and approximately 0.99 to 2.85 log CFU/g, respectively. The greatest reduction of total aerobic bacteria achieved by the combination of 40 ppm CD, 150 ppm PA for 8 min, was 2.45 log CFU/g. This treatment had a slight discoloration effect as indicated by a* value and chlorophyll content; and is therefore the optimal combination for reducing microorganisms on Chinese chives.
Practical Application: Fresh-cut vegetables are known to be susceptible to contamination; and subsequent growth of microorganisms result in quality concerns. Chinese chive leaves are hollow, cylindrical, and are more inclined to accumulate microbes. Currently, there is limited information on the decontamination of Chinese chives. This research focused on the evaluation of sanitation options for fresh-cut Chinese chives; and the information obtained should be applicable and useful in other fresh-cut vegetables.