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!
Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy