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Effect of Electrolyzed Water for Reduction of Foodborne Pathogens on Lettuce and Spinach

Park, E.-J., Alexander, E., Taylor, G.A., Costa, R., Kang, D.-H.
Journal of food science 2008 v.73 no.6 pp. M268
acidity, bacterial contamination, detection limit, spinach, food contamination, Salmonella Typhimurium, alkalinity, water treatment, plate count, food pathogens, foodborne illness, pH, disinfection, lettuce, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes
The ability of electrolyzed water (EW) to inactivate foodborne pathogens on the surfaces of lettuce and spinach was investigated. Lettuce and spinach leaves were inoculated with a cocktail of 3 strains each of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium, and Listeria monocytogenes and treated with acidic electrolyzed water (AC-EW), alkaline electrolyzed water (AK-EW), alkaline electrolyzed water followed by acidic electrolyzed water (sequential treatment, AK-EW + AC-EW), deionized water followed by acidic electrolyzed water (sequential treatment, DW + AC-EW), and deionized water (control, DW) for 15, 30 s, and 1, 3, and 5 min at room temperature (22 ± 2 °C). For all 3 pathogens, the same pattern of microbial reduction on lettuce and spinach were apparent. The relative efficacy of reduction was AC-EW > DW + AC-EW [almost equal to] AK-EW + AC-EW > AK-EW > control. After a 3-min treatment of AC-EW, the 3 tested pathogens were reduced below the detection limit (0.7 log). DW + AC-EW and AK-EW + AC-EW produced the same levels of reduction after 5 min when compared to the control. AK-EW did not reduce levels of pathogens even after a 5-min treatment on lettuce and spinach. Results suggest that AC-EW treatment was able to significantly reduce populations of the 3 tested pathogens from the surfaces of lettuce and spinach with increasing time of exposure.