INTENSE LIGHT PULSES EFFECT ON FUNGAL BURDEN OF MUSTARD AND BLACK PEPPER

Elena Alexandra ONICIUC, Liliana GÎTIN, Sorin CIORTAN, Nicoleta MAFTEI (ARON), Anca NICOLAU

Abstract

Mustard seeds and black pepper berries were used as test materials in an experiment that aimed to put the basis of a decontamination procedure for spices and condiments using a non-thermal minimal processing method based on Intense Light Pulses. The method wants to be a better solution to actual decontamination procedures of spices, food ingredients that have to fulfill the safety requirements regarding fungal burden and mycotoxin content. The need for the development of innovative technologies for the production of high quality spices is widely recognized by different authorities involved in food safety. The tests were performed on an installation prototype consisting of a vibratory sieve (800 rpm) and IFP 800 flash lamp discharging in Xenon gas. Different energetic densities (0.170 J/cm2, 0.783 J/cm2 and 1.393 J/cm2) and different pulse regimes (10·10-3 s, 20·10-3 s and 30·10-3 s) were used in order to establish the most suitable regime for fungal decontamination. The experimental results showed that it is possible to obtain 100% fungal decontamination of mustard seeds by setting appropriate regimes that take into consideration the initial fungal burden, the seeds quantity per sieve squared centimeter, the energetic density and the pulse regime. For black pepper berries, contamination was significantly reduced (1.7 log), but total fungal decontamination was not achieved. Comparatively to mustard seeds, black pepper berries display a similar roughness but a different undulation, the last one being the potential responsible for mould spores protection against light pulses.

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