UV-C is becoming a common alternative to sanitizing both fruit and vegetables post-harvest. Research shows that by using UV light to sanitize our fruit and veg you can delay microbial growth without altering the quality of the produce. 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 defense 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 defense gene resulting in: delaying the tissue softening, preserving the nutritional and sensory attributes and and resulting in an 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 enterbacteriacease.

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 it 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 defense response genes this will delay tissue softening which can defend the fruit against infection such as grey mold.

 

 

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

 

Apple: UV-C radiation can prevent the tissue browning and off-odors 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 our Head of Global Sales. She is a specialist in UV lamps used within the horticulture industry and will be able to talk you through the range we provide worldwide.