Original Contribution| Volume 47, ISSUE 6, P1616-1630, June 2021

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The Possibilities of Using Ultrasonically Activated Streams to Reduce the Risk of Foodborne Infection from Salad


      In this study, we investigated the effects of an ultrasonically activated stream (UAS) on the removal of microbial contaminants from spinach leaves. The microbial loads on samples cleaned with and without UAS were enumerated using the cell culture method and compared against unwashed samples on day 0 and day 6 after cleaning. The effects of UAS cleaning on leaf quality were also examined through both macroscopic and microscopic inspection, as well as measurement of the electrolyte leakage rate. Results showed that the microbial load on samples cleaned with UAS for 2 min was significantly lower on day 6 after cleaning than on those treated without ultrasound. Comparison between the cleaning effects of UAS for 40 s versus 2 min indicated that a cleaning duration of 2 min allowed sufficient time for UAS to disaggregate and detach the microbial contamination more effectively. In this case, the induction of bacteria into a viable but non-culturable state does not affect the shelf-life test results as much as it does with a 40 s clean. UAS cleaning for 2 min did not produce significant surface damage, which can affect overall leaf quality. These findings highlight the potential of UAS systems in the salad industry to improve the microbiological quality and shelf life of salads.

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