Ozonation - an alternative decontamination method for raw plant materials
Brodowska, Agnieszka J.
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Raw plant materials are vital to our health and well-being because they are furnished with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other health-promoting phytochemicals. Its increasing consumption forces food manufacturers to assure consumers of a proper microbiological purity of their products. Thus, microbiological purity is an important factor during assessing their suitability in the production process. The sources of raw plant material contamination are particularly soil particles which are brought during harvest, transport and storage and also microorganisms (bacteria, moulds and yeasts), which are associated with their living environment. The decontamination methods which have been used so far, cause a significant reduction of infective microflora, though it is observed a change or loss their valuable components such as: essential oils and biologically active substances. Thus, the aim of this paper is to propose an alternative method of decontamination such as ozonation. Microbial status of samples of Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton (cardamom) seeds, Juniperus communis (L.) (juniper) berries, Piper nigrum (white pepper) drupes, dried Ribes nigrum (L.) (blackcurrant) berries, and dried Allium cepa (L.) (onion) flakes was determined before as well as after ozonation. The conducted study shows that ozone causes a significant reduction of contaminating microflora. However, the ozone effectiveness depends on the microflora of plant material and its various vulnerability to ozone.
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