Ozonized water with plant antimicrobials: An effective method to inactivate Salmonella enterica on iceberg lettuce in the produce wash water

Govindaraj Dev Kumar, Sadhana Ravishankar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Post-harvest washing of produce is performed to remove physical debris and to lower microbial load. The use of ozone in combination with plant-based antimicrobials was evaluated as an alternative to conventional sanitizers such as chlorine. Plant based antimicrobials that were evaluated in combination with ozone included oregano oil, carvacrol, Quillaja saponin and olive extract. Ozone was dispersed in phosphate buffered saline (PBS), following which individual antimicrobials or their combinations were added. Iceberg lettuce leaves (10 g portions) inoculated with Salmonella enterica serotype Newport (6.5 ± 1 log CFU/g) were added to the wash suspension. The leaves were tested for reduction in S. Newport population after 60, 90 and 120 min of treatment. Exposure to ozonized water for 120 min resulted in a 2.1 log CFU/g (p < 0.05) reduction in S. Newport population. The addition of 0.1% oregano oil to ozonized water resulted in 3 log CFU/g reduction after 120 min but a 4.1 log CFU/g reduction after 60 min, indicating that the antioxidant property of oregano oil might have diminished ozone activity and resuscitated injured S. Newport cells. The addition of 5% olive extract to ozonized water resulted in 4.2 log CFU/g reduction of S. Newport after 120 min (p < 0.05) of treatment. While 5% olive extract did not confer protection to S. Newport cells from ozone, 1% olive extract resulted in higher S. Newport survival after 120 min treatment than the 60 min treatment. The use of carvacrol (0.1%, 0.3% and 0.5%) in ozonized water reduced the pathogen population to below the limit of detection (10 CFU/g) (p < 0.05) which was in excess of 6 log CFU/g. These results indicate that the efficacy of ozone is compounded by the addition of certain plant-based antimicrobials when used at optimum concentrations. Ozone combined with plant antimicrobials could serve as an effective alternative to sanitizers currently used for washing and processing of produce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-217
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Lettuce
  • Oregano oil
  • Plant based antimicrobials
  • Salmonella Newport
  • Saponin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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