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Electron Beam Radiation of Dried Fruits and Nuts To Reduce Yeast and Mold Bioburden

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Dried fruits and nuts make up a significant portion of the commodities traded globally, and the presence of yeasts and molds on dried fruits and nuts can be a public health risk because of the potential for exposure to toxigenic fungi. Since current postharvest treatment technologies are rather limited for dried fruits and nuts, electron beam (E-beam) radiation experiments were performed to determine the doses required to reduce the yeast and mold bioburden of raisins, walnuts, and dates. The indigenous yeast and mold bioburden on a select number of commodities sold at retail ranged from 102 to 103 CFU/g. E-beam inactivation kinetics based on the linear model suggest that the decimal reduction dose required to eliminate 90% of the microbial population (D 10-value) of these indigenous fungal populations ranges from 1.09 to 1.59 kGy. Some samples, however, exhibited inactivation kinetics that were better modeled by a quadratic model. The results indicate that different commodities can contain molds and yeasts of varying resistance to ionizing radiation. It is thus essential for the dried fruit and nut industry to determine empirically the minimum E-beam dose that is capable of reducing or eliminating the bioburden of yeasts and molds in their specific commodities.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Turkish Atomic Energy Authority, ANRCAAS, 06983, Ankara, Turkey 2: IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group, 15300 Bothell Way N., Seattle, Washington 98155, USA 3: National Center for Electron Beam Food Research, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-2472, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2007

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