It is estimated that up to 30% of fresh produce can be lost due to microbial spoilage. Dr Singleton from Newcastle University explains that low levels of gaseous ozone are able to prevent fungal spoilage in a wide range of stored fresh produce, including strawberries, tomatoes, grapes and plums.
His work has shown that enriching the storage environment with ozone causes a substantial decline in fungal spore production as well as a reduction in visible lesions on fruits that are already infected. Fruit stored at low levels of ozone for up to 8 days prevented almost 95% of disease from developing, depending on the fruit and levels of fungal infection.
Fungal contamination is the most common cause of spoilage of stored fruit, salads and vegetables and the risk of microbial contamination increases with longer storage periods. From the 1950s onwards, heat treatment was replaced with cheap and effective synthetic fungicides, often used in combination with pre-pack sanitation treatment containing chlorine or bromine.
Dr Singleton explains why alternative methods to reduce fungal spoilage are needed. "There are public concerns over pesticide residues on fresh produce. Ozone is a viable alternative to pesticides as it is safe to use and effective against a wide spectrum of micro-organisms. Importantly, it leaves no detectable residues in contrast to traditional methods of preserving fresh produce."
Interestingly, Dr Singleton's team found that exposing tomatoes to ozone before infecting them with fungus also reduced spoilage. "This suggests that ozone treatment exerts a 'memory' or 'vaccination' effect that protects fruit from damage. It is unclear how this phenomenon works, but is certainly worthy of further, detailed investigation," suggested Dr Singleton.
Careful work is also needed to optimize levels of ozone and length of exposure for each variety of produce. "Different fruits have been shown to have different tolerances for ozone. We need to look carefully at how we control the atmospheric concentration of the gas in stores and transit containers, since levels of ozone that are too high can damage produce, causing financial losses".
Laura Udakis | EurekAlert!
Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP
New weapon against Diabetes
09.12.2016 | Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zürich)
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy