MAR 06, 2015 6:22 AM PST

Enter the New Age of food disinfection

WRITTEN BY: Robert Woodard
Fuji applesResearchers have engineered nanobombs to wipe out pathogens that can spoil food and pose health risks.

A study published in Environmental Science & Technology last month (February 19) explains how researchers at Harvard and their colleagues have figured out how to eliminate potentially harmful foodborne microbes from fruits and vegetables by bombing them with charged water nanoparticles. The idea is very appealing, primarily because it could eliminate the need to spray these foods with chlorine-based products, which can tarnish foods and are banned for organic produce.

This could lead to a new choice for farmers, who currently have limited options for sterilizing their produce. They can spray food with chemicals laced with chlorine-based or quaternary ammonium compounds, which are effective, but can ruin the taste of the food or irritate the hands of those who pick it. Or they can irradiate the food with ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, but that can retard ripening and alter food color.

The opoortunity is that consumers want more chemical-free, biofriendly approaches for their food. With this method, according to the authors of this study, there are no residues to worry about, and in three to four hours, everything becomes water vapor again.

Two years ago, a preliminary investigation showed that mice could inhale much higher doses of these water nanobombs without adverse health effects.

Of course, there are no guarantees.

Read the article in The Scientist, March 5, 2015
About the Author
You May Also Like
MAR 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 31, 2020
Can Viruses Survive in Outer Space?
Outer space is often depicted as a harsh environment. It’s effectively an airless vacuum, and anything residing th ...
APR 08, 2020
Microbiology
APR 08, 2020
How the Vaginal Microbiome is Connected to Preterm Delivery
New research has connected the composition of the community of microbes that populates the vagina with premature birth.
APR 16, 2020
Microbiology
APR 16, 2020
How Many COVID-19 Cases Have There Really Been?
It's widely accepted that we don't have a good idea of how many COVID-19 cases are circulating, so researchers are using ...
APR 26, 2020
Microbiology
APR 26, 2020
Researchers Design A Polio Vaccine That Won't Cause Polio
Sustained, intense efforts to vaccinate were getting the world very close to eradicating polio, but the vaccine itself o ...
MAY 04, 2020
Microbiology
MAY 04, 2020
How Soap and Hand Sanitizer Kill Viruses
The COVID-19 pandemic has spread around the world and there is still no available treatment or a vaccine. Prevention rem ...
MAY 31, 2020
Microbiology
MAY 31, 2020
Zika Virus Infections in Early Life Can Cause Brain Damage
The Zika virus, which is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, poses significant risks to the developing fetus, and new work ...
Loading Comments...