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Effect of Ozonated Water Treatment on Microbial Control and on Browning of Iceberg Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.)

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We examined the effect of ozonated water treatment on microbial control and quality of cut iceberg lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). Fresh-cut lettuce was washed in ozonated water (3, 5, and 10 ppm) for 5 min at ambient temperature. The native bacterial population on the lettuce declined in response to a rise in ozone concentration. However, there was no further bacterial reduction (1.4 log CFU/g) above 5 ppm ozone. Although ozonated water treatment increased the phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) activity of the lettuce stored at 10°C compared with the water wash treatment after 1 day of storage, the concentration of ozone did not affect PAL activity. The a* value of the residue of the lettuce methanol extracts, which reflects the extent of browning, increased dramatically in lettuce treated with 10 ppm ozonated water compared with other treatments. Treatment with 3 or 5 ppm ozonated water resulted in more rapid changes in the a* value than after the water treatment. The combined treatment of hot water (50°C, 2.5 min) followed by ozonated water (5 ppm, 2.5 min) had the same bactericidal effect as treatment with ozonated water (5 ppm, 5 min) or sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl, 200 ppm, 5 min), giving a reduction in bacteria numbers of 1.2 to 1.4 log CFU/g. The ascorbic acid content of the lettuce was not affected by these treatments. The combined treatment of hot water followed by ozonated water greatly inhibited PAL activity for up to 3 days of storage at 10°C. Treatment with this combination greatly suppressed increases in the a* value, thus retarding the progress of browning compared with other treatments throughout the 6-day storage. NaOCl treatment also inhibited browning for up to 3 days of storage. Bacterial populations on the lettuce treated with sanitizers were initially reduced but then showed rapid growth compared with that of the water wash treatment, which did not reduce bacterial counts initially.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Food Processing Laboratory, National Food Research Institute, 2-1-12, Kannondai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8642, Japan

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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