The Benefits of UV Light Application on Fresh Produce

UV-C is becoming a common alternative to sanitizing both fruit and vegetables post-harvest. Research shows that using UV light to sanitize our fruit and veg can delay microbial growth without altering the quality of the produce.
Posted: Tuesday, 28 August 2018

UV light can be more effective in reducing microbial growth than the commonly used chlorine, hydrogen peroxide or ozone, which can leave residue and ultimately reduce quality.

Recent studies demonstrate the additional benefits of using UV-C post-harvest. As well as being an effective sanitizing solution it has been proven to extend the shelf life of fresh produce. This is as UV-C light blocks microorganisms’ development by altering their DNA and can trigger the defence response against pathogens attacks.

In 2012 ‘Emirates Journal of Food & Agriculture’ published a review on UV radiation effects and its potential application as postharvest technology to preserve fresh fruit and vegetables during storage.  Here are some findings within the report:


Tomatoes: Using UV-C improves the nutritional value and increases the Lycopene level without compromising the physical properties. UV-C can also induce the defence gene resulting in delaying the tissue softening, preserving the nutritional and sensory attributes and resulting in extended shelf life.




Mushrooms: UV-C radiation creates an antimicrobial effect which is perfect for sanitizing mushrooms.  




Baby Spinach: UV-C reduces microbial growth and extends shelf life without compromising the fresh cut or quality. UV radiation can also limit the growth of listeria monocytogenes, salmonella enterica, pseudomonas marginalis, psychrotrophic and Enterobacteriaceae.


Broccoli: UV-C can disable the chlorophyll degradation and increase the antioxidant activity in the vegetable. This significantly helps reduce floret yellowing which is a critical issue with Broccoli reducing its shelf-life and quality. 



Pepper: UV-C light will reduce the incident and severity of chilling injuries which are common in peppers. They do this by maintaining the firmness of the tissue. 


Strawberries: UV-C light can ignite the defence response genes this will delay tissue softening which can defend the fruit against infection such as grey mould.  




Blueberry: UV-C radiation will reduce over-ripeness, which causes the berries to decay. It will also increase the level of the antioxidant compounds. UV-C is proven to improve the berries’ phytochemical properties from 2.15 to 4.30 KJ/m2. 


Apple: UV-C radiation can prevent tissue browning and off-odour development by sanitizing the apple surface and stopping the oxidative enzymes. UV light also creates a dried protective film over the surface which limits microbial growth this prevents juice leakage. 



Watermelon: UV-C applied at the right dose can reduce microbial growth and catalase enzyme activity on a fresh-cut watermelon.

The summary of the review demonstrates that UV-C can effectively sanitize and extend the shelf life of fresh fruit and vegetables without affecting the structure or taste of the fruit – proving that it’s a valued alternative to the chemical alternatives.

Here at Alpha-Purify, we provide a range of UV-C lamps. Click Here to Contact Us and our Head of Global Sales, Berenika Bond. She is a specialist in UV disinfection lamps used within the horticulture industry and will be able to talk you through the range of medium-pressure, low-pressure and amalgam UV lamps we provide worldwide.

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