Applied and environmental microbiology

Enhanced inactivation of food-borne pathogens in ready-to-eat sliced ham by near-infrared heating combined with UV-C irradiation and mechanism of the synergistic bactericidal action.

PMID 25107964


The objective of the study described in this article was, first, to investigate the effect of the simultaneous application of near-infrared (NIR) heating and UV irradiation on inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, and Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat (RTE) sliced ham and as well as its effect on product quality and, second, to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of the synergistic bactericidal action of NIR heating and UV irradiation. With the inoculation amounts used, simultaneous NIR-UV combined treatment for 70 s achieved 3.62, 4.17, and 3.43 log CFU reductions of E. coli O157:H7, S. Typhimurium, and L. monocytogenes, respectively. For all three pathogens, the simultaneous application of both technologies resulted in an additional log unit reduction as a result of their synergism compared to the sum of the reductions obtained after the individual treatments. To investigate the mechanisms of NIR-UV synergistic injury for a particular microorganism in a food base, we evaluated the effect of four types of metabolic inhibitors using the overlay method and confirmed that damage to cellular membranes and the inability of cells to repair these structures due to ribosomal damage were the primary factors related to the synergistic lethal effect. Additionally, NIR-UV combined treatment for a maximum of 70 s did not alter the color values or texture parameters of ham slices significantly (P > 0.05). These results suggest that a NIR-UV combined process could be an innovative antimicrobial intervention for RTE meat products.