A Review into the Effectiveness of Ozone Technology for Improving the Safety and Preserving the Quality of Fresh-Cut Fruits and Vegetables
Type: Literature review
Author: Rinaldo Botondi, Marco Barone and Claudia Grasso
Summary: In recent years, consumers have become increasingly aware of the nutritional benefits brought by the regular consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, which reduces the risk of health problems and disease. High-quality raw materials are essential since minimally processed produce is highly perishable and susceptible to quality deterioration. The cutting, peeling, cleaning and packaging processes as well as the biochemical, sensorial and microbial changes that occur on plant tissue surfaces may accelerate produce deterioration. In this regard, biological contamination can be primary, which occurs when the infectious organisms directly contaminate raw materials, and/or by cross-contamination, which occurs during food preparation processes such as washing. Among the many technologies available to extend the shelf life of fresh-cut products, ozone technology has proven to be a highly effective sterilization technique. In this paper, we examine the main studies that have focused on the effects of gaseous ozone and ozonated water treatments on microbial growth and quality retention of fresh-cut fruit and vegetables. The purpose of this scientific literature review is to broaden our knowledge of eco-friendly technologies, such as ozone technology, which extends the shelf life and maintains the quality of fresh produce without emitting hazardous chemicals that negatively affect plant material and the environment.