Effect of Ozone and Ultraviolet Irradiation Treatments on Listeria monocytogenes Populations in Chill Brines

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Virginia Tech


The efficacy of ozone and ultraviolet light, used in combination, to inactivate Listeria monocytogenes in fresh (9% NaCl, 91.86% transmittance at 254 nm) and spent chill brines (20.5% NaCl, 0.01% transmittance at 254 nm) was determined. Preliminary studies were conducted to optimize parameters for the ozonation of "fresh" and "spent" brines. These include diffuser design, comparison of kit to standard methods to measure residual ozone, studying the effect of ozone on uridine absorbance and determining presence of residual listericidal activity post ozonation.

An ozone diffuser was designed using 3/16 inch PVC tubing for the ozonation of brines. The sparger was designed to facilitate better diffusion and its efficiency was tested. The modified sparger diffused 1.44 ppm of ozone after 30 minutes of ozonation and the solution had an excess of 1 ppm in 10 minutes of ozonating fresh brine solution (200ml). Population levels of L. monocytogenes were determined at various time intervals post-ozonation (0, 10, 20, 60 min) to determine the presence of residual listericidal activity. The population post ozonation (0 minutes) was 5.31 Log CFU/ml and was 5.08 Log CFU/ml after a 60 minute interval. Therefore, residual antimicrobial effect was weak. Accuracy of the Vacu-vial Ozone analysis kit was evaluated by comparing the performance of the kit to the standard indigo colorimetric method for measuring residual ozone. The kit was inaccurate in determining residual ozone levels of spent brines and 1% peptone water. Uridine was evaluated as a UV actinometric tool for brine solutions that were ozonated before UV treatment. The absorbance of uridine (A262) decreased after ozonation from 0.1329 to 0.0512 for standard 10 minutes UV exposure duration. Absorbance of uridine was influenced by ozone indicating that the presence of ozone may hamper UV fluence determination accuracy in ozone-treated solutions.

Upon completion of diffuser design and ozone/UV analysis studies, the effect of ozone-UV combination on L. monocytogenes in fresh and spent brines was evaluated. Ozonation, when applied for 5 minutes, caused a 5.29 mean Log reduction while 5 minutes of UV exposure resulted in a 1.09 mean Log reduction of L. monocytogenes cells in fresh brines. Ten minutes of ozonation led to a 7.44 mean Log reduction and 10 minutes of UV radiation caused a 1.95 mean Log reduction of Listeria in fresh brine.

Spent brines required 60 minutes of ozonation for a 4.97 mean Log reduction in L. monocytogenes counts, while 45 minutes resulted in a 4.04 mean Log reduction. Ten minutes of UV exposure of the spent brines resulted in 0.30 mean Log reduction in Listeria cells. A combination of 60 minutes ozonation and 10 minute UV exposure resulted in an excess of 5 log reduction in cell counts. Ozonation did not cause a sufficient increase in the transmittance of the spent brine to aid UV penetration but resulted in apparent color change as indicated by change in Lab* values. Ozonation for sufficient time had considerable listericidal activity in fresh brines and spent brines and when combined with UV treatment, is effective reducing L. monocytogenes to undetectable levels in fresh brines.



UV radiation, ozone, Listeria monocytogenes, antimicrobial, indigometric method