Ozone and Food Processing
Nowadays, the food industries require innovative processing technologies in order to satisfy consumer demand for fresher and safer ready-to-eat foods. Such technologies include ozone as a powerful disinfectant, which may justify expectations of industry, receive approvals of regulatory authorities and acceptation of consumers. O3 is a potent antimicrobial agent of widespread application with an active and efficient effect against bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa and spores of bacteria and fungi. Ozone is especially suited for the food industry because its excessive amounts decay spontaneously and rapidly generating oxide without leaving residue in food products. This disinfection agent at relatively low concentrations has an active effect on all forms of microorganisms.
Possible uses of ozone in food production:
• Fruit and vegetable washing.
• Meat and poultry processing.
• Seafood and fish processing.
• Food storage.
• Reduction of microbiological contamination in ambient air.
Science researches has shown:
-Treatment of apples with ozone resulted in lower weight loss and spoilage.
- Increased shelf life of apples and oranges following ozone treatment.
-Ozone reduced E.coli in blueberries and had no effect on their colour.
-Ozone reduced PPO (polyphenol oxidase) in celery, lettuce and other. PPO causes the rapid polymerization of o-quinones to produce black, brown or red pigments (polyphenols) that cause fruit browning.
- Ozone degrades aflatoxin B1 in flaked and chopped red peppers.
-Ozone is also a fungistatic agent.
-Apart from microbial inactivation, ozone treatment of apple juice has also been reported for destruction of mycotoxins (For example patulin).
-ozone treatment extended poultry shelf life by 2.4 days. Other researches shows meat extended shelf life by 5 days.
Ozone is a potent disinfectant with good prospects for application in modern food industries. This disinfectant has an efficient effect on a wide range of microorganisms, and is friendly to environment. Ozone stability and effectiveness provides attractive cost efficiency solutions for the industry, which is under the burden of increasing power costs.