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Microbubble and disinfectant wash for the safety of leafy vegetables

Researchers from the University of Kasetsart in Bangkok applied the microbubble (MB) technology to the washing process of leafy vegetables to assess its effectiveness in reducing microbial contamination. 

They also determined the effectiveness of MBs (Ø ~ 50-70 μm) combined with three disinfectants - acidic electrolyte water (AEO: 20 and 40 mg/L; ORP: 910-1010 mV; pH: 2.7-3.1), chlorine dioxide (ClO2: 3 and 5 mg/L; ORP: 550-680 mV; pH: 7.1-7.5) and sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl: 40 and 80 mg/L; ORP: 900-990 mV; pH: 6.5-6.7) - in order to inactivate Escherichia coli and Salmonella Typhimurium on artificially-contaminated basil and Thai mint. 

Although microbubbles alone do not possess antimicrobial properties, the combination with two oxidant disinfectants (NaOCl and AEO) for 5 minutes determined an effective reduction of S. Typhimurium and E. coli on both plants with 2-3 log reductions (99.2-99.8%).

Washing the leaves with MB and NaOCl at a concentration of free chlorine of 40 mg/L of NaOCl or 20 mg/L or AEO had the best results in killing S. Typhimurium with 1.21-1.90 and 0.67-2.25 log reductions respectively. In addition, the reduction of E. coli and S. Typhimurium on basil resulted higher than on Thai mint.

"Differences in surface roughness can help bubbles and disinfectant additives detach bacterial cells, therefore making the washing process more effective. What is more, the addition of disinfectants to the washing solution is a powerful means of killing planktonic E. coli and S. Typhimurium in the washing water, thus preventing cross-contamination." 

Source: Klintham Pitirat, Tongchitpakdee Sasitorn, Chinsirikul Wannee, Mahakarnchanakul Warapa, 'Combination of microbubbles with oxidizing sanitizers to eliminate Escherichia coli and Salmonella Typhimurium on Thai leafy vegetables', 2017, Food Control, Vol. 77, pag. 260-269.
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