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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Food Science

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has a regulation stating that there can be no detectable generic Escherichia coli in agricultural water. The objective of this study was to optimize the use of peracetic acid (PAA) as a mitigating strategy in postharvest processing. This project began by investigating the impact of storage temperatures on stability of a commercially available PAA sanitizer. Regression analysis showed a quadratic relationship in the concentration of PAA over 12 weeks when storing the product at 4, 20 and 37°C. Stability of the product was also investigated in the presence of organic load over time at 60ppm PAA. PAA significantly decreased at an organic load level of 750COD. From this, the impact of various ratios of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and PAA were investigated further to see the efficacy against E. coli O157:H7 over three hours with reinoculation of bacteria after 3 hours. A higher level of PAA in the solution had a greater inactivation efficacy against E. coli O157:H7. The impact of concentration, organic load, temperature and pH on the efficacy against E. coli O157:H7 and stability of PAA over four hours was then investigated. All of the conditions tested showed a significant decrease in H2O2 and PAA concentrations over time, except at concentration of 80ppm, with varying rates of depletion under each condition tested. This study will help to create guidance on optimizing the use of PAA. With this knowledge growers can understand how changes in their post-harvest processing water can affect sanitizer performance.


First Advisor

Amanda J. Kinchla

Second Advisor

Maria Corradini

Third Advisor

Wesley Autio