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Cold plasma enhances the efficacy of aerosolized hydrogen peroxide in reducing populations of Salmonella Typhimurium and Listeria innocua on grape tomatoes, apples, cantaloupe and romaine lettuce

Song, Yuanyuan, Fan, Xuetong
Food microbiology 2020 v.87 pp. 103391
Listeria innocua, Salmonella Typhimurium, Solanum lycopersicum, apples, bacteria, cantaloupes, cold, fresh produce, grape tomatoes, hydrogen peroxide, leaves, mists, romaine lettuce
In the present study, we investigated whether cold plasma activation affected the efficacy of aerosolized hydrogen peroxide against S. Typhimurium and L. innocua. Stem scars and smooth surfaces of grape tomatoes, surfaces of Granny Smith apples and Romaine lettuce (both midrib and upper leaves) and cantaloupe rinds were inoculated with two-strain cocktails of S. Typhimurium and 3-strain cocktails of L. innocua. The inoculated samples were treated with 7.8% aerosolized H₂O₂ with and without cold plasma for various times. For all fresh produce items and surfaces, cold plasma significantly (P < 0.05) improved the efficacy of aerosolized H₂O₂ against Salmonella and L. innocua. Without cold plasma activation, H₂O₂ aerosols only reduced populations of Salmonella by 1.54–3.17 log CFU/piece while H₂O₂ with cold plasma achieved 2.35–5.50 log CFU/piece reductions of Salmonella. L. innocua was more sensitive to the cold plasma-activated H₂O₂ than Salmonella. Cold plasma activated H₂O₂ aerosols reduced Listeria populations by more than 5 log CFU/piece on all types and surfaces of fresh produce except for the tomato stem scar area. Without cold plasma, the reductions by H₂O₂ were only 1.35–3.77 log CFU/piece. Overall, our results demonstrated that cold plasma activation significantly enhanced the efficacy of H₂O₂ mist against bacteria on fresh produce.