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Open AccessArticle

Towards the Next-Generation Disinfectant: Composition, Storability and Preservation Potential of Plasma Activated Water on Baby Spinach Leaves

1
Department of Processing Technology, Nofima AS, NO-4021 Stavanger, Norway
2
Centre for Plasma Microbiology, Department of Electrical Engineering & Electronics, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Foods 2019, 8(12), 692; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8120692
Received: 4 November 2019 / Revised: 9 December 2019 / Accepted: 12 December 2019 / Published: 17 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Safety and Shelf-Life Extension of Food Products)
Plasma activated water (PAW) has rapidly emerged as a promising alternative to traditional sanitizers applied in the fresh produce industry. In the present study, PAW chemistry and storage stability were assessed as a function of plasma operating conditions. Increasing plasma exposure time (5, 12.5, 20 min) and power (16, 26, 36 W) led to a significant drop in pH (2.4) and higher nitrates and nitrites levels (320 and 7.2 mg/L, respectively) in the PAW. Non-detectable hydrogen peroxide concentration, irrespective of the treatment conditions, was attributed to its instability in acidic environments and the remote PAW generation mode. pH, nitrates and nitrites levels in the PAW remained unaffected after two weeks at 4 °C. The potential of PAW for microbial inactivation and quality retention was demonstrated on baby spinach leaves. Rinsing steps influenced colour development during chilled storage to a greater extent than PAW treatment itself. About 1 log reduction in total bacterial counts (5 log CFU/g) was achieved through PAW rinsing, with no variability after eight days at 4 °C (typical shelf-life at retailers). Moreover, microbial levels on PAW-treated samples after storage were significantly lower than those on control samples, thus contributing to extended product shelf-life and reduced food waste generation. View Full-Text
Keywords: plasma activated water (PAW); plasma power; exposure time; PAW composition; PAW storage stability; fresh produce; baby spinach leaves; ready to eat; total bacterial counts; colour; shelf-life; disinfectant plasma activated water (PAW); plasma power; exposure time; PAW composition; PAW storage stability; fresh produce; baby spinach leaves; ready to eat; total bacterial counts; colour; shelf-life; disinfectant
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Risa Vaka, M.; Sone, I.; García Álvarez, R.; Walsh, J.L.; Prabhu, L.; Sivertsvik, M.; Noriega Fernández, E. Towards the Next-Generation Disinfectant: Composition, Storability and Preservation Potential of Plasma Activated Water on Baby Spinach Leaves. Foods 2019, 8, 692.

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