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Ongoing project

New technology for sanitising fresh produce and nuts (HN15000)

Key research provider: NSW Department of Primary Industries

What’s it all about?

Contamination of fruits, vegetables and nuts can be a significant challenge for the horticulture industry and can negatively affect the management and maintenance of a ‘clean, green and safe’ reputation, both in the domestic and export markets.

Despite the adoption of good on-farm and postharvest practices, microbial contamination can occur in fresh produce, potentially leading to public health concerns. There are also opportunities to improve the current use of chemical sanitisers such as chlorine in postharvest decontamination, which can be limited in their effectiveness, leave behind residues and impact on the environment. use of chemical sanitisers such as chlorine in postharvest decontamination have several negative impacts including limited effectiveness, build-up of residues and negative environmental impacts.

Supercharged air technology has recently emerged as a non-thermal option for killing or inactivating a broad range of microorganisms such as bacteria, mould, yeast and viruses.

This project is focusing on the development of a new tool to reduce food safety risks to both consumers and industry. The first phase of the project, working in collaboration with international research partners, commercial partners and others, will assess the use of supercharged air technology to decontaminate fresh horticultural produce and nuts to mitigate the risk of food safety incidents and boost consumer confidence.

The project aims to:

  • Develop supercharged air treatment protocols to achieve food safety and decay control in a range of horticultural products without affecting product quality

  • Design and build a supercharged air treatment prototype to validate laboratory experimental results and to scale up the technology

  • Scale-up and commercialise supercharged air technology by collaborating with technology partners and horticultural industries.