Hydroxyl-radical activated water for inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes on germinating mung beans
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The following reports on the generation of hydroxyl-radical activated water prepared by passing a hydrogen peroxide solution containing Fe(III) catalyst through a UV-C reactor. The activated water was subsequently evaluated for antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli O157:H7 in suspension or when inoculated onto mung beans. Hydroxyl-radical generation was assessed through the oxidation of methylene blue when reacted with activated water prepared from solutions of different pH (4-10), UV-C dose (32-128 mJ/cm2), hydrogen peroxide (0-1000 mg/L) and Fe(III) concentration (0-100 mg/L). Methylene blue oxidation was associated with high concentrations of each reactant with a positive correlation with Fe(III) concentration. Inactivation curves of E. coli O157:H7 in activated water were diphasic with an initial slow rate that increased after 15 min contact time. In contrast to the methylene blue assay, the antimicrobial action of activated water was associated with high hydrogen peroxide (500 mg/mL) and low Fe(III) catalyst (1 mg/L) with no significant interaction with UV-C dose. Evidence would suggest that the mode-of-inactivation was through a radical propagation reaction that is rate-limited by the reduction of Fe (III) to Fe (II). Here, the initial activation process via UV-C illumination results in photo-reduction of Fe(III) and propagates the formation of hydroxyl-radicals. Fe(III) to Fe(II) cycling continues with oxidation of cell structures that ultimately leads to loss of viability due to accumulation of cellular damage. When activated water was used to soak mung beans inoculated with E. coli O157:H7 a 1 log reduction was obtained with a 19% increase in germinated beans and 8.5% higher sprout yield relative to controls. The oxidation reduction potential decreased from 477 mV to 288 mV and pH increased from 3.97 to 5.47, over the 24 h mung bean soak period. The reduction of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes on mung beans soaked in activated water was <1 log CFU/g with all three pathogens growing back over the sprouting period. From the results it can be concluded that activated water can enhance the germination of mung beans along with sprout yield but has limited capacity when applied alone as a seed disinfection method.
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