Atmospheric cold plasma process for vegetable leaf decontamination: A feasibility study on radicchio (red chicory, Cichorium intybus L.)

Frederique Pasquali, Alexandros Ch Stratakos, Anastasios Koidis, Annachiara Berardinelli*, Chiara Cevoli, Luigi Ragni, Rocco Mancusi, Gerardo Manfreda, Marcello Trevisani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)
2882 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Cold plasma is an emerging non-thermal processing technology that could be used for large scale leaf decontamination as an alternative to chlorine washing. In this study the effect of an atmospheric cold plasma apparatus (air DBD, 15 kV) on the safety, antioxidant activity and quality of radicchio (red chicory, Cichorium intybus L.) was investigated after 15 and 30 min of treatment (in afterglow at 70 mm from the discharge, at 22 °C and 60% of RH) and during storage. Escherichia coli O157:H7 inoculated on radicchio leaves was significantly reduced after 15 min cold plasma treatment (-1.35 log MPN/cm<sup>2</sup>). However, a 30 min plasma treatment was necessary to achieve a significant reduction of Listeria monocytogenes counts (-2.2 log CFU/cm<sup>2</sup>). Immediately after cold plasma treatment, no significant effects emerged in terms of antioxidant activity assessed by the ABTS and ORAC assay and external appearance of the radicchio leaves. Significant changes between treated and untreated radicchio leaves are quality defects based on the cold plasma treatment. Atmospheric cold plasma appears to be a promising processing technology for the decontamination of leafy vegetables although some criticalities, that emerged during storage, need to be considered in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-559
Number of pages8
JournalFood Control
Volume60
Early online date02 Sep 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016

Keywords

  • Antioxidant activity
  • Cold plasma
  • Colour
  • Decontamination
  • Escherichia coli
  • Listeria monocytogenes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Biotechnology

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