Enhancing Microbiological Safety of Cucumbers and Reducing Spoilage of White Onions Using Electron Beam Processing
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Microbial contamination is of significant importance to the economic value and microbiological safety of fresh produce. Two fresh produce commodities that are of significant consumer demand are cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) and white onions (Allium cepa L.). Product quality of onions in terms of extended shelf life is of economic importance to growers, distributors, and retailers. Similarly, elimination of the bacterial pathogen, Salmonella spp., on cucumbers is of significant importance to public health. Electron beam (eBeam) is a non-thermal food processing technology that is approved by the US FDA but has not been widely adopted by the fresh produce industry. My hypothesis was that there will be a reduction in the overall bioburden (which could result in extending the shelf life as well as elimination of potential targeted organism when white onions and cucumbers are treated with low (≤ 1 kGy) eBeam dose. To test the hypothesis, we will inoculate white onions and cucumbers with laboratory grown strains of Enterobacter cloacae and Salmonella Typhimurium and expose them to eBeam doses of ≤ 1kGy, which is currently approved by the FDA for fresh produce. The FDA approved microbiological methods will be used determine the natural bioburden and pathogen reduction after eBeam processing at doses under 1kGy.
Valencia, Luis A (2016). Enhancing Microbiological Safety of Cucumbers and Reducing Spoilage of White Onions Using Electron Beam Processing. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from