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International Journal of Food Microbiology
Vol. 204, 2015, Pages: 75–80

Effect of food processing organic matter on photocatalytic bactericidal activity of titanium dioxide (TiO2)

Veerachandra K. Yemmireddy, Yen-Con Hung

Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223-1797, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of food processing organic matter on photocatalytic bactericidal activity of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles (NPs). Produce and meat processing wash solutions were prepared using romaine lettuce and ground beef samples. Physico-chemical properties such as pH, turbidity, chemical oxygen demand (COD), total phenolics (for produce) and protein (for meat) content of the extracts were determined using standard procedures. The photocatalytic bactericidal activity of TiO2 (1 mg/mL) in suspension with or without organic matter against Escherichia coli O157:H7 (5-strain) was determined over a period of 3 h. Increasing the concentration of organic matter (either produce or meat) from 0% to 100% resulted in 85% decrease in TiO2 microbicidal efficacy. 'Turbidity, total phenolics, and protein contents in wash solutions had significant effect on the log reduction. Increasing the total phenolics content in produce washes from 20 to 114 mg/L decreased the log reduction from 2.7 to 0.38 CFU/mL, whereas increasing the protein content in meat washes from 0.12 to 1.61 mg/L decreased the log reduction from and 5.74 to 0.87 CFU/mL. Also, a linear correlation was observed between COD and total phenolics as well as COD and protein contents. While classical disinfection kinetic models failed to predict, an empirical equation in the form of “Y = menX” (where Y is log reduction, X is COD, and m and n are reaction rate constants) predicted the disinfection kinetics of TiO2 in the presence of organic matter (R2 = 94.4). This study successfully identified an empirical model with COD as a predictor variable to predict the bactericidal efficacy of TiO2 when used in food processing environment.

Keywords: TiO2; Bactericidal activity; Organic matter; Kinetics; E. coli O157:H7.

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