Trends in the Application of Photodynamic Inactivation for Microbiological Food Safety
Photodynamic inactivation has the potential to cause microbial inactivation using visible light. It works on the principle that photosensitizers within the microbial cell can be activated using specific wavelengths to trigger a series of cytotoxic reactions. In the last few years, efforts to apply this intervention technology for food safety have been on the rise. This article offers a detailed commentary on this research. The mechanism of photodynamic inactivation are discussed as are the factors that influence its efficacy in food. Efforts to inactivate bacteria, fungi, and viruses are analyzed in dedicated sections and so are the application of this technology to specific product classes such as fresh produce, dry fruits, seafood, and poultry. The challenges and opportunities facing the application of this technology to food systems are evaluated and future research directions proposed. This review is intended to provide insights for researchers and industry personnel looking for a novel solution to combat microbial contamination and resistance. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, Volume 18, Issue 2, March 2019, Pages 402-424. Read full journal article here.
Use of Efficient Drying Methods to Improve the Safety and Quality of Dried Fig
The safety risk in figs naturally dried, such as the presence of mycotoxins, is a major concern. Likewise, the quality of the fig dried by this traditional method is very heterogenic, being highly conditioned by weather conditions. Until now, there is scarce information about alternative methods to natural drying of figs. This study discusses several drying strategies evaluating safety and quality aspects. Fresh figs were dried by different artificial methods and compared to traditional sun drying as the control. The microbial counts were monitored after drying and throughout storage. The fungal population was isolated and identified, and their capacity to produce mycotoxins was evaluated. Quality parameters such as moisture, weight loss, firmness, total soluble solids, titratable acidity, and sensory quality were also assessed. The study findings would be helpful in developing specific technologies for dried fig production. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation, Volume 43, Issue 1, January 2019, e13853. Read full journal article.
Wine Astringency Reduces Flavor Intensity of Brussels Sprouts
The bitterness of vegetables is a leading reason why they are avoided by children and some adults. Bitterness is perceived via TAS2R receptors located on the tongue. In contrast, astringency is a mouthfeel rather than a taste, and is perceived as a dry, puckering sensation. To date, few reports have suggested any interactions between the two processes even though they often occur simultaneously in many foods. In this study, brussels sprouts were used as an exemplar bitter vegetable and the influence of different interventions on perceived intensity were examined. Subjects rated the intensity of brussels sprouts before and after three interventions: gravy, red wine, and water. By using astringency to affect salivary proteins, the authors suggest they may play a role in the detection of bitterness. This may be through helping to transport bitterness compounds to the taste bud receptors or a separate mechanism. Potentially, this also opens up new ways to block bitterness. Journal of Texture Studies, Volume 50, Issue 1, Special Issue: Saliva and Food Oral Processing, February 2019, Pages 71-74. Read full journal article here.