Koseki SYoshida KIsobe SItoh K.

Food Processing Laboratory, National Food Research Institute, 2-1-12 Kannondai, Tsukuba 305-8642, Japan. koseki@nfri.affrc.go.jp

An examination was made of the efficacy of acidic electrolyzed water (AcEW, 30 ppm free available chlorine), ozonated water (5 ppm ozone), and a sodium hypochlorite solution (NaOCl, 150 ppm free available chlorine) for use as potential sanitizers of cucumbers and strawberries. AcEW and NaOCl reduced the aerobic mesophiles naturally present on cucumbers within 10 min by 1.4 and 1.2 log CFU per cucumber, respectively. The reduction by ozonated water (0.7 log CFU per cucumber) was significantly less than that of AcEW or NaOCl (P < or = 0.05). Cucumbers washed in alkaline electrolyzed water for 5 min and then treated with AcEW for 5 min showed a reduction in aerobic mesophiles that was at least 2 log CFU per cucumber greater than that of other treatments (P < or = 0.05). This treatment was also effective in reducing levels of coliform bacteria and fungi associated with cucumbers. All treatments offered greater microbial reduction on the cucumber surface than in the cucumber homogenate. Aerobic mesophiles associated with strawberries were reduced by less than 1 log CFU per strawberry after each treatment. Coliform bacteria and fungi associated with strawberries were reduced by 1.0 to 1.5 log CFU per strawberry after each treatment. Microbial reduction was approximately 0.5 log CFU per strawberry greater on the strawberry surface than in the strawberry homogenate. However, neither treatment was able to completely inactivate or remove the microorganisms from the surface of the cucumber or strawberry.