EscherIchia coli decontamination of dried onion flakes and black pepper using Infra-red, Ultraviolet and ozone hurdle technologies


Among spices, onion flakes (OF) and black pepper (BP) are commonly used ingredients in domestic cooking; however, spices have been shown to be highly contaminated with pathogenic bacteria and bacterial spores. A novel method applying a treatments of Ozone Ultraviolet (UV, 255nm) and Infra-red (IR) light in different combinations was assessed for its efficiency in decontaminating OF and BP. In this study, untreated samples, as purchased, were inoculated with 9.5 × 105 cfu/mL Escherichia coli (MG1655) and exposed to each treatment alone and in combination of ozone sequentially followed by UV/IR, and UV/IR combined followed sequentially by ozone. A difference in response towards the treatment was shown among the types of spices, with a high efficacy for BP. Typically 3 log reductions were observed for ozone, UV and IR. The sequential treatments of ozone with UV and IR combined gave improved results than individual ones, with 99.99% of E.coli inactivation, and a shorter exposure duration with ozone (2.5 and 5 min) and UV and IR (2.5 and 5 min). The combined effect (ozone 2.5 mins, UV and IR 10 mins) yielded a log reduction of 2.69 and 4.20 for OF and BP respectively, greater than the additive effect of the individual treatments alone. The IR lamp was modulated to reduce excessive temperature rise. The IR decontamination increased once combined with UV. This novel prototype was shown to be very effective in decontaminating spices. Further studies should be conducted to validate the effectiveness of this method on decontamination of various bacterial strains.

Journal/Conference Information

Heliyon,DOI:, ISSN: 2405-8440, Volume: e07259, Issue: 7, Pages Range: 1-34,