Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Safer spinach? Scientist's technique dramatically reduces E. coli numbers

Date:
November 27, 2012
Source:
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Summary:
Scientists have found a way to boost current industry capabilities when it comes to reducing the number of E. coli 0157:H7 cells that may live undetected on spinach leaves. By combining continuous ultrasound treatment with chlorine washing, they can reduce the total number of foodborne pathogenic bacteria by over 99.99 percent.

Scientists have found a way to boost current industry capabilities when it comes to reducing the number of E. coli 0157:H7 cells that may live undetected on spinach leaves.
Credit: caimacanul / Fotolia

University of Illinois scientists have found a way to boost current industry capabilities when it comes to reducing the number of E. coli 0157:H7 cells that may live undetected on spinach leaves.

Related Articles


“By combining continuous ultrasound treatment with chlorine washing, we can reduce the total number of foodborne pathogenic bacteria by over 99.99 percent,” said Hao Feng, a U of I professor of food science and human nutrition.

According to Feng, the USDA is looking for proposed technologies that can achieve a 4 to 6 log reduction in pathogen cells (a 6 log reduction would achieve a million-fold reduction in pathogenic bacteria). The food processing industry can now achieve a 1 log or tenfold reduction. In comparison, the U of I technique yields a 4 log reduction.

“Combining technologies is the key to bridging the gap between our current capacity and what USDA would like to see. The use of ultrasound exposure during chlorine washing gives the industry a way to significantly enhance microbial safety,” he said.

Feng’s pilot-scale system uses three pairs of large-area ultrasonic transducer boxes to form a channel through which ultrasound is provided to spinach leaves that are undergoing a continuous-flow chlorine wash. Spatial uniformity of ultrasound distribution was confirmed by tests using metallic foil.

The scientist said that continuous flow and uniformity of the field are key elements in the success of the process.

“Previous work with ultrasound used a tank or a medical-style probe, which doesn’t provide consistent and even distribution,” he noted.

System design is important for another reason, he said. “Placement of the produce as it makes its way through the channel turns out to be very important. We had to find ways to make sure that leaves received similar exposure to ultrasound, taking care to minimize the chance that one leaf would block a nearby leaf’s exposure to the sound waves.”

If even part of a leaf escaped the full ultrasonic treatment, it could contaminate the rest of the produce, he said.

Feng and his team have used the technique on iceberg and romaine lettuce as well as spinach with similar results.

Co-authors of the paper, published in Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies, are the U of I’s Bin Zhou and Arne J. Pearlstein. Funding was provided by Food Technology Noord-Oost Nederland, with additional support from the USDA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. The original article was written by Phyllis Picklesimer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bin Zhou, Hao Feng, Arne J. Pearlstein. Continuous-flow ultrasonic washing system for fresh produce surface decontamination. Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.ifset.2012.09.007

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "Safer spinach? Scientist's technique dramatically reduces E. coli numbers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121127130254.htm>.
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. (2012, November 27). Safer spinach? Scientist's technique dramatically reduces E. coli numbers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121127130254.htm
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "Safer spinach? Scientist's technique dramatically reduces E. coli numbers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121127130254.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins