Novel Thermal and Nonthermal Technologies for Ensuring the Microbiological Safety and Quality of Food

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Science and Technology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021) | Viewed by 21286

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Centre for Research in Biosciences, Department of Applied Sciences, University of the West of England - Bristol, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
Interests: food safety; novel food processing; food microbiology; food science; antivirulence strategies
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues

Food producers need to meet the increasing consumer demands for food of high quality with fresh-like characteristics without compromising on safety and shelf life. Novel processing technologies offer the possibility of achieving these objectives and are currently being investigated by academics and industry on a global scale.

These technologies could achieve microbial inactivation at ambient or close to ambient temperatures (nonthermal technologies) or heating food products (thermal technologies) at a significantly faster rate compared to conventional ones. Thus, they can produce safe products without the adverse effects that prolonged heating has on the quality and nutritional value of food.

The innovative approaches targeted in this Special Issue cover the whole range of novel thermal and nonthermal technologies such as ohmic heating, microwaves, radiofrequency heating, cold plasma, high-pressure processing, UV light, pulsed electric fields, and ultrasound, among others.

In this context of this Special Issue, we invite authors to submit high-quality original research articles, comprehensive review papers or short communications on the effects of novel thermal and nonthermal processing technologies on the safety, biochemical changes, organoleptic properties, shelf life, and nutrient composition of foods. Research articles that address the combination of different novel technologies or combinations of novel with conventional technologies are also welcome. Contributions on consumers’ perceptions and acceptability of novel processing technologies will also be considered.

Dr. Alexandros Ch. Stratakos
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Novel processing technologies
  • Cold atmospheric plasma
  • High-pressure processing
  • Pulsed electric fields
  • UV light
  • Ultrasound
  • Nanoparticles
  • Ohmic heating
  • Microwaves
  • Radiofrequencies

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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11 pages, 1152 KiB  
Article
Inactivation of Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella on Stainless Steel by a Piezoelectric Cold Atmospheric Plasma Generator
by Cid R. Gonzalez-Gonzalez, Bethan J. Hindle, Saliha Saad and Alexandros Ch. Stratakos
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(8), 3567; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11083567 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3006
Abstract
Cold atmospheric pressure plasma (CAP) is a novel non-thermal technology that is gaining increasing importance as a decontamination method. Stainless steel is a widespread food contact surface used in food-processing environments. In this study, for the first time, a low-voltage piezoelectric CAP device [...] Read more.
Cold atmospheric pressure plasma (CAP) is a novel non-thermal technology that is gaining increasing importance as a decontamination method. Stainless steel is a widespread food contact surface used in food-processing environments. In this study, for the first time, a low-voltage piezoelectric CAP device that uses ambient air was assessed for its antimicrobial efficiency against Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. These inoculated on stainless steel at different exposure times (0–300 s), two different distances (10 and 20 mm), and two different cleanliness levels (clean and protein-soiled). Two inactivation models were compared to study the inactivation kinetics of the pathogens. The results showed that CAP treatment effectively reduced L. monocytogenes and Salmonella levels. The Weibull + tail model showed better goodness of fit than the Weibull model. Protein-soiled coupons showed a protective effect to cold plasma inactivation achieving lower reductions compared to clean stainless-steel coupons for both L. monocytogenes and Salmonella. Longer distances from the plasma source decreased the decontamination efficiency of CAP; however, the difference in pathogen reduction was less pronounced at longer exposure times. This study demonstrates the capacity of a low-voltage piezoelectric CAP device to effectively reduce the levels of both foodborne pathogens on stainless-steel surfaces and the potential to adopt this technology by the food industry as a disinfection process of surfaces to reduce cross-contamination and thus increase safety. Full article
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18 pages, 10376 KiB  
Article
Microbial Control by High Pressure Processing for Shelf-Life Extension of Packed Meat Products in the Cold Chain: Modeling and Case Studies
by George Katsaros and Petros Taoukis
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 1317; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11031317 - 01 Feb 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2452
Abstract
Vacuum packed Bratwurst type cooked sausages and sliced or cubed meat products that have limited shelf-life of few days in chilled storage were HP processed (5 min, 600 MPa, 25 °C) and stored at different temperatures (0–15 °C). Color, texture, and microbiological and [...] Read more.
Vacuum packed Bratwurst type cooked sausages and sliced or cubed meat products that have limited shelf-life of few days in chilled storage were HP processed (5 min, 600 MPa, 25 °C) and stored at different temperatures (0–15 °C). Color, texture, and microbiological and sensory evaluation were kinetically studied for control and HP treated samples. HP treatment did not alter the color and texture of the treated samples when compared to untreated ones. Lactic acid bacteria were found to be the main spoilage index. The rates of microbiological and organoleptic deterioration were estimated, and their temperature dependence was modeled by the Arrhenius equation. An increase of their shelf life of five to eight times was estimated, compared to untreated ones. A sensory survey on HP treated cooked ham showed that the consumers could not distinguish differences between control and processed samples immediately after processing. Obtained results were used along with appropriate tools relevant to cold chain management to demonstrate that HP treated products are less perishable compared to control ones, allowing for short exposure to temperature deviations during transportation and storage. This has a positive impact on the reduction of the frequency of spoiled products before consumption, acting as a useful tool for the meat product’s loss and waste reduction. Full article
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18 pages, 1296 KiB  
Article
Comparing Innovative Versus Conventional Ham Processes via Environmental Life Cycle Assessment Supplemented with the Assessment of Nitrite Impacts on Human Health
by Gaëlle Petit, Gina Villamonte, Marie de Lamballerie and Vanessa Jury
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(1), 451; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11010451 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2649
Abstract
Global sustainability indicators, particularly in human health, are necessary to describe agrifood products footprint. Nitrosamines are toxic molecules that are often encountered in cured and processed meats. As they are frequently consumed, meat-based products need to be assessed to evaluate their potential impact [...] Read more.
Global sustainability indicators, particularly in human health, are necessary to describe agrifood products footprint. Nitrosamines are toxic molecules that are often encountered in cured and processed meats. As they are frequently consumed, meat-based products need to be assessed to evaluate their potential impact on human health. This article provides a methodological framework based on life cycle assessment for comparing meat product processing scenarios. The respective contributions of each step of the product life cycle are extended with a new human health indicator, nitrosamine toxicity, which has not been previously included in life cycle assessment (LCA) studies and tools (software and databases). This inclusion allows for the comparison of conventional versus innovative processes. Nitrosamines toxicity was estimated to be 2.20x10−6 disability-adjusted life years (DALY) for 1 kg of consumed conventional cooked ham while 4.54x10−7 DALY for 1 kg of consumed innovative cooked ham. The potential carcinogenic and noncarcinogenic effects of nitrosamines from meat products on human health are taken into account. Human health indicators are an important step forward in the comprehensive application of LCA methodology to improve the global sustainability of food systems. Full article
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14 pages, 1936 KiB  
Article
Ultrasound for Meat Processing: Effects of Salt Reduction and Storage on Meat Quality Parameters
by Elena S. Inguglia, Daniel Granato, Joseph P. Kerry, Brijesh K. Tiwari and Catherine M. Burgess
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(1), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11010117 - 24 Dec 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3598
Abstract
Meat samples (Longissimus dorsi) were processed using an ultrasonic (US) probe system (20 kHz) and a US bath (33 kHz), in brine solutions of 15% NaCl or NaCl/KCl. Selected quality parameters, namely hardness (Warner–Bratzler shear force, WBSF), secondary lipid oxidation products (thiobarbituric [...] Read more.
Meat samples (Longissimus dorsi) were processed using an ultrasonic (US) probe system (20 kHz) and a US bath (33 kHz), in brine solutions of 15% NaCl or NaCl/KCl. Selected quality parameters, namely hardness (Warner–Bratzler shear force, WBSF), secondary lipid oxidation products (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, TBARs) and total colour difference (TCD) were analysed at day 0 and day 60. Inoculated E. coli and L. innocua cells, total viable counts and lactic acid bacteria were also monitored for 60 days on meat stored at 4 and 10 °C. US brining could achieve a 25% sodium reduction in a shorter processing time. No changes were observed for WBSF and TBARs values; noticeable colour differences (ΔΕ > 5) were measured in US-treated samples at the end of storage. Whilst no differences were observed in the levels of inoculated and spoilage bacteria on the meat surface, a significant reduction in E. coli in the brine subjected to US treatment indicates the potential of US as a hurdle technology to prevent cross contamination during meat processing. These results suggest that US processing, in combination with KCl, could assist current sodium reduction strategies improving processing time. In addition, the potential effects for decontamination of brining tanks increasing the shelf-life of the brine and preventing processing losses are highlighted. Full article
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13 pages, 3700 KiB  
Article
Studies Towards the Development of a Novel, Screen-Printed Carbon-Based, Biosensor for the Measurement of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
by Amy Smart, Adrian Crew, Olena Doran and John P. Hart
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(21), 7779; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10217779 - 03 Nov 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2314
Abstract
This paper describes the design, development and characterisation of an electrochemical biosensor for the measurement of linoleic and α-linolenic acid, as representative free polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), that may be implicated in food safety and food quality. Initial cyclic voltammetric studies were performed [...] Read more.
This paper describes the design, development and characterisation of an electrochemical biosensor for the measurement of linoleic and α-linolenic acid, as representative free polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), that may be implicated in food safety and food quality. Initial cyclic voltammetric studies were performed with solutions that contained enzyme-generated hydroperoxides of the two PUFAs. These were examined with plain screen-printed carbon electrodes (SPCEs) and screen-printed carbon electrodes containing the electrocatalyst cobalt phthalocyanine (CoPC). The electrocatalytic oxidation peaks obtained with the latter occurred at potentials about 300 mV lower than the those obtained by direct oxidation with the plain SPCEs and were better defined; as these attributes would lead to better selectivity and sensitivity for fatty acid determinations, the CoPC-SPCEs were used in the fabrication of amperometric biosensors. The enzyme lipoxygenase (LOX) was immobilised on the surface of these devices using the crosslinking agent glutaraldehyde. These biosensors were optimised for the measurement of linoleic and α-linolenic acid using amperometry in stirred solution; the optimum conditions were deduced by studying the effect of enzyme loading, pH and temperature on the amperometric responses. These responses were examined over the concentration range 2.0 to 20 µM and the results indicated that the following conditions were optimal: LOX loading 15 units; pH 8.0; temperature 37 °C. Low concentration calibration studies were performed with the two PUFAs and it was shown that the steady state currents were linear between 0.2 and 10 µM for linoleic acid and 0.2 and 10 µM for α-linolenic acid; the detection limits were 24 and 100 nM, respectively. The precision (coefficient of variation, n = 6) was 5.3% for α-linoleic acid and 3.3% for linoleic acid, which were calculated from the steady state current following additions (n = 6) of 0.2 µM PUFA. These results demonstrate that the novel amperometric biosensor holds promise for determining whether foods contain acceptable levels of free fatty acids. Full article
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11 pages, 2562 KiB  
Article
Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris Strain Variability in the Inactivation Kinetics of Spores in Orange Juice by Temperature-Assisted High Hydrostatic Pressure
by Patra Sourri, Anthoula A. Argyri, Efstathios Z. Panagou, George-John E. Nychas and Chrysoula C. Tassou
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(21), 7542; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10217542 - 26 Oct 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2171
Abstract
In this work, the inactivation kinetics of Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris spores by temperature-assisted high hydrostatic pressure was assessed by means of the Weibull model. Spores from two A. acidoterrestris strains (a wild-type strain and a reference strain) were inoculated in commercial orange juice and [...] Read more.
In this work, the inactivation kinetics of Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris spores by temperature-assisted high hydrostatic pressure was assessed by means of the Weibull model. Spores from two A. acidoterrestris strains (a wild-type strain and a reference strain) were inoculated in commercial orange juice and subjected to high pressure levels (500 and 600 MPa) combined with four temperature regimes (25, 45, 60 and 70 °C) for time up to 30 min. Results showed that for a given high-pressure level spore inactivation was higher as temperature progressively increased. Furthermore, the Weibull model consistently produced satisfactory fit to the inactivation data based on the values of the root mean squared error (RMSE < 0.54 log colony-forming units (CFU)/mL) and the coefficient of determination (R2 > 0.90 in most cases). The shape of inactivation curves was concave upward (p < 1) for all temperature/high pressure levels tested, indicating rapid inactivation of the sensitive cells of the bacterium whereas the remaining ones adapted to high hydrostatic pressure (HHP) treatment. The values of the shape (p) and scale (δ) parameters of the Weibull model were dependent on the applied temperature for a given high pressure level and they were further described in a secondary model using first-order fitting curves to provide predictions of the surviving spore population at 55 and 65 °C. Results revealed a systematic over-prediction for the wild-type strain regardless of temperature and high pressure applied, whereas for the reference strain under-prediction was evident after 3 log-cycles reduction of the surviving bacteria spores. Overall, the results obtained indicate that the effectiveness of high hydrostatic pressure against A. acidoterrestris spores is strain-dependent and also underline the need for temperature-assisted HPP for effective spore inactivation during orange juice processing. Full article
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Review

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27 pages, 595 KiB  
Review
Non-Thermal Methods for Ensuring the Microbiological Quality and Safety of Seafood
by Sotirios I. Ekonomou and Ioannis S. Boziaris
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 833; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11020833 - 17 Jan 2021
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 4310
Abstract
A literature search and systematic review were conducted to present and discuss the most recent research studies for the past twenty years on the application of non-thermal methods for ensuring the microbiological safety and quality of fish and seafood. This review presents the [...] Read more.
A literature search and systematic review were conducted to present and discuss the most recent research studies for the past twenty years on the application of non-thermal methods for ensuring the microbiological safety and quality of fish and seafood. This review presents the principles and reveals the potential benefits of high hydrostatic pressure processing (HHP), ultrasounds (US), non-thermal atmospheric plasma (NTAP), pulsed electric fields (PEF), and electrolyzed water (EW) as alternative methods to conventional heat treatments. Some of these methods have already been adopted by the seafood industry, while others show promising results in inactivating microbial contaminants or spoilage bacteria from solid or liquid seafood products without affecting the biochemical or sensory quality. The main applications and mechanisms of action for each emerging technology are being discussed. Each of these technologies has a specific mode of microbial inactivation and a specific range of use. Thus, their knowledge is important to design a practical application plan focusing on producing safer, qualitative seafood products with added value following today’s consumers’ needs. Full article
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