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Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies

Inactivation effect of dielectric barrier discharge plasma against food-borne pathogens on the surfaces of different packaging materials

Pradeep Puligundla1, Taehoon Lee1, Chulkyoon Mok

Department of Food Science & Biotechnology, Gachon University, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, 13120, Republic of Korea.


The usefulness of dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma for surface disinfection of the common food packaging materials, namely glass, polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon, and paper foil was evaluated. DBD plasma was generated by applying a pulsed DC voltage of 10 kV and required a power consumption of 208 W. The separation distance between the electrodes was 2.65 mm. On exposure of food pathogens-loaded packaging materials to the plasma, > 4 log/cm2 reduction (99.99%) in viable cell counts of Escherichia coli O157:H7 was observed in 10 min. The other two tested pathogen strains, Salmonella typhimurium and Staphylococcus aureus, were inactivated in the range 3.0–3.5 log/cm2. The inactivation pattern of the pathogens fitted well to log-linear and tail model. Compared to unexposed packaging materials, no significant (p > 0.05) changes in the surface temperatures, optical characteristics, tensile strengths, and strain-induced deformation were observed for the DBD plasma-exposed materials. Therefore, DBD plasma can be used to disinfect surfaces of different food packaging materials harboring moderate levels of bacterial contaminants without adversely affecting their physicomechanical properties.

Keywords: Dielectric barrier discharge plasma; Food pathogens; Food packaging materials; Inactivation; Kinetic modeling; Physical property.

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