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Development and Characterization of a Carbon-Based Composite Material for Reducing Patulin Levels in Apple Juice

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Patulin, a heterocyclic lactone produced by various species of Penicillium and Aspergillus fungi, is often detected in apple juices and ciders. Previous research has shown the effectiveness of granular activated carbon for reducing patulin levels in aqueous solutions, apple juices, and ciders. In this study, ultrafine activated carbon was bonded onto granular quartz to produce a composite carbon adsorbent (CCA) with a high carbonaceous surface area, good bed porosity, and increased bulk density. CCA in fixed-bed adsorption columns was evaluated for efficacy in reducing patulin levels from aqueous solutions and apple juice. Columns containing 1.0, 0.5, and 0.25 g of CCA were continuously loaded with a patulin solution (10 μg/ml) and eluted at a flow rate of 1 ml/min. Results indicated that 50% breakthrough capacities for patulin on 1.0-, 0.5-, and 0.25-g CCA columns were 137.5, 38.5, and 19.9 μg, respectively. The effectiveness of CCA to adsorb patulin and prevent toxic effects was confirmed in vitro using adult hydra in culture. Hydra were sensitive to the effects of patulin, with a minimal affective concentration equal to 0.7 μg/ml; CCA adsorption prevented patulin toxicity until 76% breakthrough capacity was achieved. Fixed-bed adsorption with 1.0 g of CCA was also effective in reducing patulin concentrations (20 μg/liter) in a naturally contaminated apple juice, and breakthrough capacities were shown to increase with temperature. Additionally, CCA offered a higher initial breakthrough capacity than pelleted activated carbon when compared in parallel experiments. This study suggests that CCA used in fixed-bed adsorption systems effectively reduced patulin levels in both aqueous solutions and naturally contaminated apple juice; however, the appearance and taste of apple juice may be affected by the treatment process.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Veterinary Anatomy & Public Health, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-4458, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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