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Effect of Nonthermal, Conventional, and Combined Disinfection Technologies on the Stability of Human Adenoviruses as Fecal Contaminants on Surfaces of Fresh Ready-to-Eat Products

Birmpa, Angeliki, Bellou, Maria, Kokkinos, Petros, Vantarakis, Apostolos
Journal of food protection 2016 v.79 no.3 pp. 454-462
Adenoviridae, cherry tomatoes, chlorine, disinfection, foodborne illness, fresh produce, humans, lettuce, ready-to-eat foods, strawberries, synergism, ultrasonic treatment, ultrasonics, ultraviolet radiation, viruses
Over one-half of foodborne diseases are believed to be of viral origin. The ability of viruses to persist in the environment and fresh produce, as well as their low infectious dose, allows even a small amount of contamination to cause serious foodborne problems. Moreover, the consumer's demands for fresh, convenient, and safe foods have prompted research into alternative food disinfection technologies. Our study focuses on viral inactivation by both conventional and alternative nonthermal disinfection technologies on different fresh ready-to-eat food products. The use of chlorine, as well as that of nonthermal technologies such as UV light and ultrasound (US), was tested for different treatment times. UV nonthermal technology was found to be more effective for the disinfection of human adenoviruses (hAdVs) compared with US, achieving a log reduction of 2.13, 1.25, and 0.92 for lettuce, strawberries, and cherry tomatoes, respectively, when UV treatment was implemented for 30 min. US treatment for the same period achieved a log reduction of 0.85, 0.53, and 0.36, respectively. The sequential use of US and UV was found to be more effective compared with when the treatments were used separately, for the same treatment time, thus indicating a synergistic effect. In addition, human adenoviruses were inactivated sooner, when chlorine treatment was used. Therefore, the effect of each disinfection method was dependent upon the treatment time and the type of food.