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Screening of Commercially Available Chlorine Based Sanitizers and their Efficacy in Reducing Microbial Load Levels of E. coli O157:H7 at High and Low Organic Load Environments

The presence of postharvest sanitizers has shown to be an effective approach to reducing microbial cross contamination in agricultural washing operations. However, choosing an appropriate sanitizer can be challenging due to produce commodity, processing conditions and interference with organic load. Current research shows a wide variety of methods to mimic the organic load of vegetable processing conditions, with paddle mixing and blender as the most commonly used. Controlling and understanding the physiochemical properties of wash water is key in maintaining sanitizer efficacy. The effects of simulated wash water preparation method on the physiochemical properties were tested at 0 and 50 COD(mg/L) and no significant difference was observed. However, at high levels of organic load results showed a significant difference between turbidity values at 1,500 COD. Free residual chlorine titration methods were compared, using DPD-titrimetric and Iodometric method. Results showed a significant difference between titration methods in organic load heavy environments. Commercially available chlorine based sanitizers, Pure Bright™ Germicidal Bleach and Clorox® Germicidal Bleach, were compared to a concentrated solution of sodium hypochlorite. Pure Bright™ Germicidal Bleach showed to perform the best by reducing 7 log CFU/ml of E. coli O157:H7 after 30 seconds in no organic load environments, whereas Clorox Germicidal bleach was able to reduce 7 log CFU/ml of E. coli O157:H7 after 30 minutes. These studies aim to provide best management practices for small in medium growers in the implementation of antimicrobial solutions for the maintenance of water quality in postharvest washing solutions.
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