Date of Award

5-2002

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biological Engineering

Advisor

Darrell Donahue

Second Committee Member

Alfred A. Bushway

Third Committee Member

William Halteman

Abstract

In a period of increasing concern about food safety, food poisoning outbreaks where unpasterurized apple cider or apple juice was found contaminated with Escherichia coli 0157:H7 reinforces the need for using the best technologies in apple cider production. Most apple cider is sold as an unpasteurized raw product. Because of their acidity, it was believed that juice products do not usually contain microorganisms such as E. coli 0157:H7, Salmonella, and Crytosporidium. Yet all of these foodborne pathogens are capable of being transmitted in unpasteurized juices. It is known that these pathogens can survive for several weeks in a variety of acidic juices. Although heat pasteurization is probably the best method to eliminate these pathogens, it is not the most desirable method as it changes sensory properties and also is very costly for small to mid-sized apple cider processors. Pasteurization of apple cider with Ultraviolet Irradiation (UV) is a potential alternative to heat pasteurization. Germicidal W irradiation is effective in inactivating microorganisms without producing undesirable by-products and changing sensory properties. Unpasteurized raw apple cider from a small local processor was purchased for this study. The effects of physical parameters, exposure time and dosage on the W treatment efficacy were examined as well as the effects of the UV light on apple cider quality. W light with principal energy at a wavelength of 254.7 nm, was effective in reducing bacteria (E .coli, ATCC 25922) inoculated apple cider. The W dosage absorbed by the apple cider was mathematically calculated. A radiation dose of 8,777 μW-s/cm2 reduced bacteria an average of 2.20 logs and in multiple passes, the FDA mandated 5-log reduction was achieved. Sensory analysis showed there was no significant difference between the W treated and non-treated cider. Experiments with W treated apple cider indicated a significant (p < 0.01) extension of product shelf life through inhibition of yeast and mold growth. The extension of the researched performed is applicable to other fruit juice processing operations.

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