Special Issue "Cold Plasma Treatment for Food Safety and Quality"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Chemical and Molecular Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Pietro Rocculi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Piazza Goidanich 60, 47521 Cesena (FC), Italy
Interests: food processing and packaging; physical properties, water mobility and meta-stability of food; innovative non-thermal treatments for food processing and stabilization; use of modified atmosphere for food processing and packaging
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Silvia Tappi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Interdepartmental Centre for Industrial Agrofood Research, University of Bologna, Cesena, Italy
Interests: plasma effect on minimally processed fruit and vegetable and fishery products; innovative non-thermal technologies; minimal processing and food quality and stability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Lucia Vannini
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Piazza Goidanich 60, 47521 Cesena (FC), Italy
Interests: expert in food microbiology and cold gas plasma effect in microbiological model systems and real food products
Dr. Matteo Gherardi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Industrial Engineering, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Viale del Risorgimento 2, 40136 Bologna, Italy
Interests: expert in mechanical engineering; cold gas plasma engineering; application of plasma technologies

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

To address the challenge of combining global security with the increasing demand for high quality products in the modern food chain, non-thermal technologies represent an emerging opportunity. Cold gas plasma has shown promising results for food sanitation and stabilization, although the effects of its usage are not completely known. In this direction, it is important to identify the treatment parameters that are crucial for obtaining the desired effects, and also the points when further application of cold gas plasma becomes detrimental for specific food categories, not only in terms of their sensorial quality, but particularly on nutritional aspects. The degradative phenomena of food can be vary significantly, being strictly bound to the food products’ nature and characteristics (e.g. vegetable or animal origin, water activity, pH, composition, microstructure), and storage conditions (e.g. packaging permeability, oxygen availability, cold chain). The effect of cold gas plasma treatment in each case has to be known on the basis of their physico-chemical and biological mechanisms, also considering their further development during storage. In order to complete this major task, detailed models have to be developed and extensive diagnostics of plasma systems need to be done. Recently, the application of cold plasma to model and real systems has been investigated in relation to sanitation of different fluid and solid vegetable and animal foods, sterilization of food packaging materials, modification of surface and functional properties of food and food components, enhancement of seed germination, reduction of pesticide residues, inactivation of enzymes etc., mycotoxins decontamination.

The aim of this Special Issue is to review the potential applications of cold plasma technology for food modification/stabilization, widen comprehension of the effects of this promising technology, and underline the areas that need further investigation.

Scope

Authors are encouraged to submit original and previously unpublished research papers and reviews regarding cold plasma application to food systems.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Characterization of cold gas plasma effects on quality and stability of animal and vegetable food products: enzymatic activities, physical properties and micro-structure, microbial load, bioactive compounds content and antioxidant activities;
  • Cold gas plasma treatment for minimally processed food stabilization, pre- and post-packaging;
  • Test of cold gas plasma treatment for micotoxyn inactivation in dried/semi-dried food;
  • Modulation of atmospheric treatment conditions for the optimization of cold gas plasma processing of food products;
  • Design and applications of novel plasma sources

Prof. Dr. Pietro Rocculi
Dr. Tappi Silvia
Prof. Dr. Lucia Vannini
Dr. Matteo Gherardi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Cold gas plasma
  • food stability
  • degradative phenomena
  • processing
  • packaging
  • novel plasma sources

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Resistance of L. monocytogenes and S. Typhimurium towards Cold Atmospheric Plasma as Function of Biofilm Age
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(12), 2702; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app8122702 - 19 Dec 2018
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2233
Abstract
The biofilm mode of growth protects bacterial cells against currently applied disinfection methods for abiotic (food) contact surfaces. Therefore, innovative methods, such as Cold Atmospheric Plasma (CAP), should be investigated for biofilm inactivation. However, more knowledge is required concerning the influence of the [...] Read more.
The biofilm mode of growth protects bacterial cells against currently applied disinfection methods for abiotic (food) contact surfaces. Therefore, innovative methods, such as Cold Atmospheric Plasma (CAP), should be investigated for biofilm inactivation. However, more knowledge is required concerning the influence of the biofilm age on the inactivation efficacy in order to comment on a possible application of CAP in the (food) processing industry. L. monocytogenes and S. Typhimurium biofilms with five different ages (i.e., 1, 2, 3, 7, and 10 days) were developed. For the untreated biofilms, the total biofilm mass and the cell density were determined. To investigate the biofilm resistance towards CAP treatment, biofilms with different ages were treated for 10 min and the remaining cell density was determined. Finally, for the one-day old reference biofilms and the most resistant biofilm age, complete inactivation curves were developed to examine the influence of the biofilm age on the inactivation kinetics. For L. monocytogenes, an increased biofilm age resulted in (i) an increased biomass, (ii) a decreased cell density prior to CAP treatment, and (iii) an increased resistance towards CAP treatment. For S. Typhimurium, similar results were obtained, except for the biomass, which was here independent of the biofilm age. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cold Plasma Treatment for Food Safety and Quality)
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Article
Impact of a Pilot-Scale Plasma-Assisted Washing Process on the Culturable Microbial Community Dynamics Related to Fresh-Cut Endive Lettuce
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(11), 2225; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app8112225 - 12 Nov 2018
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1249
Abstract
Cold plasma is described as a promising technique for the treatment of fresh food. In particular, the application of plasma-treated water gained interest in fresh-cut produce processing. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of plasma-treated water (PTW) to decontaminate lettuce during washing [...] Read more.
Cold plasma is described as a promising technique for the treatment of fresh food. In particular, the application of plasma-treated water gained interest in fresh-cut produce processing. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of plasma-treated water (PTW) to decontaminate lettuce during washing on a pilot-scale level with special interest in the dynamics of the culturable microbial community in a first approach. PTW was used in pilot-scale washing at different processing steps, and the total viable count (TVC) of endive lettuce was determined after treatment and after storage (seven days, 2 °C). Microflora representatives were identified using MALDI-ToF MS. The highest reduction of TVC (1.8 log units) was achieved using PTW for washing whole lettuce before cutting. The microbial community structure showed high variations in the composition along the processing chain and during storage with a decrease in diversity after washing with PTW. PTW reduced the microbial load of endive lettuce; however, this was not clearly detectable at the end of storage, similar to other sanitizers used in comparable studies. To assure the safety of fresh products, detailed knowledge about the microbial load and the composition of the microbial community close to the end of shelf life is of high interest for optimized process design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cold Plasma Treatment for Food Safety and Quality)
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Article
Inactivation Kinetics of Salmonella typhimurium and Staphylococcus aureus in Different Media by Dielectric Barrier Discharge Non-Thermal Plasma
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(11), 2087; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app8112087 - 28 Oct 2018
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1394
Abstract
A study was conducted to determine the effect of dielectric barrier discharge non-thermal plasma (DBD-NTP) on Salmonella typhimurium and Staphylococcus aureus populations on solid surfaces and in liquid suspensions. Our results showed that inactivation kinetics of S. typhimurium and S. aureus by DBD-NTP [...] Read more.
A study was conducted to determine the effect of dielectric barrier discharge non-thermal plasma (DBD-NTP) on Salmonella typhimurium and Staphylococcus aureus populations on solid surfaces and in liquid suspensions. Our results showed that inactivation kinetics of S. typhimurium and S. aureus by DBD-NTP treatments can be well predicted with mathematical models. The survival curves of both S. typhimurium and S. aureus showed a log-linear phase followed by tailing behaviors on solid surfaces, and shoulder behaviors followed by a log-linear phase in liquid suspensions. The D values (decimal reduction time) for S. typhimurium and S. aureus in suspension were higher than those on solid surfaces (p < 0.05). Additionally, the maxima of sublethal injury values under low NaCl concentration and neutral pH condition were higher than those under high NaCl and low pH condition. In addition, mathematical modeling was evaluated to predict the final inactivation result for potential industrial applications. This study indicates that different microbial supporting matrices significantly influence the inactivation effect of DBD-NTP; it also provides useful information for future applications of NTP in enhancing food shelf life and safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cold Plasma Treatment for Food Safety and Quality)
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Article
Effect of Plasma Exposure Time on the Polyphenolic Profile and Antioxidant Activity of Fresh-Cut Apples
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(10), 1939; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app8101939 - 16 Oct 2018
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1119
Abstract
Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) has shown good potentiality for the decontamination and stabilization of fresh fruit and vegetable products; however, information about its effect on nutritional quality is still scarce. The aim of this research was to evaluate the impact of a form [...] Read more.
Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) has shown good potentiality for the decontamination and stabilization of fresh fruit and vegetable products; however, information about its effect on nutritional quality is still scarce. The aim of this research was to evaluate the impact of a form of indirect treatment known as Dielectric Barrier Discharge (DBD) on apple slices—more specifically, the polyphenolic profile and antioxidant activity of fresh-cut Pink Lady apples. Atmospheric plasma was generated using air as feed gas, and directed to apple slices for up to 30 min. The effect of plasma treatment on physico-chemical parameters was mainly observed as a slight acidification of the tissue and reduction of browning after an extended period of exposure. The samples’ phenolic profile was significantly affected after 10 min of treatment, both in quantitative (an approximately 20% increase) and qualitative terms, while with increasing exposure time a progressive decrease of all polyphenol classes was observed. The antioxidant activity, evaluated by different in-vitro methods, followed a similar trend, increasing after 10 min of processing and then decreasing. Results highlighted how plasma exposure promotes a metabolic response of the fresh tissue, and the importance of carefully controlling the exposure time in order to minimize the loss of nutritional properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cold Plasma Treatment for Food Safety and Quality)
Article
Microwave Plasma Torch Generated in Argon for Small Berries Surface Treatment
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(10), 1870; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app8101870 - 10 Oct 2018
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2512
Abstract
Demand for food quality and extended freshness without the use of harmful chemicals has become a major topic over the last decade. New technologies are using UV light, strong electric field, ozone and other reactive agents to decontaminate food surfaces. The low-power non-equilibrium [...] Read more.
Demand for food quality and extended freshness without the use of harmful chemicals has become a major topic over the last decade. New technologies are using UV light, strong electric field, ozone and other reactive agents to decontaminate food surfaces. The low-power non-equilibrium (cold) atmospheric pressure operating plasmas effectively combines all the qualities mentioned above and thus, due to their synergetic influence, promising results in fruit surface decontamination can be obtained. The present paper focuses on the applicability of the recently developed microwave surface wave sustained plasma torch for the treatment of selected small fruit. Optical emission spectroscopy is used for the determination of plasma active particles (radicals, UV light) and plasma parameters during the fruit treatment. The infrared camera images confirm low and fully applicable heating of the treated surface that ensures no fruit quality changes. The detailed study shows that the efficiency of the microbial decontamination of selected fruits naturally contaminated by microorganisms is strongly dependent on the fruit surface shape. The decontamination of the rough strawberry surface seems inefficient using the current configuration, but for smooth berries promising results were obtained. Finally, antioxidant activity measurements demonstrate no changes due to plasma treatment. The results confirm that the MW surface wave sustained discharge is applicable to fruit surface decontamination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cold Plasma Treatment for Food Safety and Quality)
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