Summary of Awards to Date

Nano-aerosolization as a novel approach for sanitizer application in fresh-produce disinfection.

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Date

Sep. 1, 2008 - Aug. 31, 2010

Award Number

TEX09319

Funding Agency

USDA - CSREES

Amount Awarded

$334,954.00

Investigator

Luis Cisneros-Zevallos, Ph.D.
Texas A&M University

Co-Investigator(s)

Castillo, A., and Castell, E.

Summary

The rationale that underlies the proposed research is that understanding the phenomena of microbial internalization inside different produce surface morphology will enable to design and validate methods to improve sanitizer delivery to deep location or to remove viable cells of enteric pathogens. In addition, adapting and validating emerging technologies like nano-aerosolizations will lead to develop efficient intervention methods and ensure the safety of fresh produce without compromising their quality. Fruits and vegetables play an important role in our diet and health by providing essential vitamins, minerals, and fibers. In recent years there has been an increase in consumption of fruits and vegetables that has been associated with an increase in the presence of human pathogens found on fresh fruits and vegetables from both imported and domestic fresh produce. In an effort to reduce these concerns, this study proposes to improve and characterize nano-aerosolization technique to reduce the initial contamination of Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica, and Listeria monocytogenes, in fruits and vegetables. Ultra (nano)-aerosolization (nebulization) technique of liquid based sanitizer will be used as model systems. Physicochemical properties, including viscosity, surface tension, and density of liquid sanitizer will be characterized to evaluate their influence in droplet size formation and stability. Application of nebulized liquid sanitizer in terms of antimicrobial effectiveness will be evaluated at ambient and refrigerated conditions.