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Effects of sanitizing treatments with atmospheric cold plasma, SDS and lactic acid on verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes in red chicory (radicchio)

Trevisani, Marcello, Berardinelli, Annachiara, Cevoli, Chiara, Cecchini, Matilde, Ragni, Luigi, Pasquali, Frederique
Food control 2017 v.78 pp. 138-143
Cichorium intybus, Listeria monocytogenes, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, color, fresh produce, freshness, lactic acid, odors, pathogens, plate count, sanitizers, sanitizing, sodium dodecyl sulfate, synergism, texture, washing
The main objective of this study was to evaluate the synergistic effect of atmospheric cold plasma (ACP), Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate (SDS) and lactic acid (LA) on L. monocytogenes and verotoxin-producing E. coli in red chicory. Experimentally inoculated samples were pre-treated with either SDS, or SDS + LA for 5, 10 or 15 min. Pre-treated samples were then submerged in deionized water and either exposed to ACP generated by dielectric barrier discharge device (DBD: fixed parameters: 19.15 V and 3.15 A) for 15 min or left untreated. All combinations of treatments were evaluated for sensory effects. Viable counts of verotoxin-producing E. coli on red chicory decreased by more than 4 logs (4.78 Log CFU/cm2 vs control) after a treatment with LA + SDS for 5 min and ACP for 15 min and often dropped below the limit of quantification. L. monocytogenes showed a higher tolerance to this sanitizing treatment and the level of inactivation was higher than 3 logs (3.77 Log CFU/cm2 vs control) only by increasing the duration of the washing step in LA + SDS to 15 min. The different treatments had no detrimental effects on colour, freshness and texture of red chicory, but odour and overall acceptability of the samples treated by ACP slightly decreased during storage. Further optimization of treatment parameters for maintaining fresh characteristics are needed, but the effectiveness of combinations of sanitizers and ACP on other pathogens and fresh produce worth to be investigated.