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Research Call

DAFM Reference


DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2010 10RDDIT712 DIT (UCD) €90,626

Project Title:

A novel decontamination and shelf-life extension technology for fresh produce

Project Coordinator:

Dr PJ Cullen

Project Abstract

Globally, there is an increase in the number of outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with fresh produce, in particular ready-to-eat fruit and vegetables. It is critical that effective decontamination steps are in place to ensure consumer protection and confidence in such healthy produce. This project aims to develop a pre-commercial prototype continuous In-Pack decontamination system for fresh produce. In-package treatment is desired by the food industry as such an approach helps prevent against recontamination and provides increased shelf-life. This proposal exploits expertise acquired from the completed FIRM ozone project to develop and validate a novel non-thermal plasma (NTP) treatment system which generates significant amounts of ozone and other active species within sealed packages. The prototype will be optimised for its antimicrobial efficacy for in-package decontamination of fresh produce. Along with quantifying shelf life extension, the potential for changes in organoleptic and nutritional properties of fresh produce will be evaluated. This project will optimise the plasma discharge produced by non-thermal plasma and attempt to elucidate the role of key reactive species such as ozone and others in the mechanisms of inactivation. The project will result in a precompetitive prototype with detailed information on a range of potential food applications. The technology will be evaluated and optimised for fresh produce, however the approach has potential applications in many other food types to decontaminate or extend shelf life including meat, seafood, fish and eggs within any transparent or opaque plastic, glass or cardboard package.

Final Report:

Final Report 10RDDIT712 (pdf 297Kb)