Alfalfa Seed Germination and Yield Ratio and Alfalfa Sprout Microbial Keeping Quality Following Irradiation of Seeds and Sprouts
Authors: Rajkowski, Kathleen T.; Thayer, Donald W.
Source: Journal of Food Protection®, Number 12, December 2001, pp. 1891-2110 , pp. 1988-1995(8)
Abstract:Foods can be treated with gamma radiation, a nonthermal food process, to inactivate foodborne pathogens and fungi, to kill insects on or in fruits and vegetables, and to increase shelf life. Gamma irradiation is especially well suited for these treatments because of its ability to penetrate commercial pallets of foods. Irradiated fruits, vegetables, poultry, and hamburger have been received favorably by the public and are now available in supermarkets. The use of irradiation on fresh alfalfa sprouts was studied to determine its effect on keeping quality as related to aerobic microbial load. After an irradiation dose of 2 kGy, the total aerobic count decreased from 105-8 to 103-5 CFU/g, and the total coliform counts decreased from 105-8 to 103-0 CFU/g. The results showed that the sprouts maintained their structure after irradiation, and the keeping quality was extended to 21 days, which is an increase of 10 days from the usual shelf life. The effect of various doses of irradiation on alfalfa seeds as measured by percent germination and yield ratio (wt/wt) of sprouts was determined. There was little effect on the percent germination, but as the dose increased, the yield ratio of alfalfa sprouts decreased. As the length of growing time increased, so did the yield ratio of the lower dose irradiated seeds (1 to 2 kGy). The irradiation process can be used to increase the shelf life of alfalfa sprouts, and irradiating alfalfa seeds at doses up to 2 kGy does not unacceptably decrease the yield ratio for production of alfalfa sprouts.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA
Publication date: December 1, 2001
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