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Decontamination of Airborne Bacteria in Meat Processing Plants1

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Food Processing Automation Conference Proceedings, 28-29 June 2008, Providence, Rhode Island  701P0508cd.(doi:10.13031/2013.24550)
Authors:   J R Patel
Keywords:   Airborne contamination, meat processing, germicidal air cleaning unit

Air has been established as a source of bacterial contamination in meat processing facilities. Airborne bacteria may affect product shelf life, and have food safety implications. The effectiveness of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generating AirOcare equipment on the reduction of airborne bacteria in a meat processing environment was determined. Bacterial strains found in ground beef were used to artificially contaminate the air using a 6-jet Collison nebulizer. Airborne bacterial populations in the meat processing room were monitored every 24 h at multiple locations using a Staplex 6 stage air sampler. Total aerobic, Gram-negative, and lactic acid bacterial populations were determined by sampling on R2A agar, MacConkey agar and Lactobacilli MRS agar, respectively. Approximately 3 log reductions of lactic acid bacteria and Gram-negative bacteria were observed after 24 hours of treatment (P < 0.05) compared to ~1.5 log reduction in the control treatment. Further exposure with ROS significantly reduced lactic acid bacteria and Gram-negative bacteria in the air at 48 and 96 h sampling intervals. These findings reveal that reactive oxygen species treatment using AirOcare unit significantly reduces airborne contamination in a meat processing environment.

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