Promising results with UV-C disinfection

March 16, 2021
Food-processing equipment supplier Sormac lab-tested a UV-C water disinfection system to determine its effectiveness in reducing contamination on washed produce during preparation for packing.

The consumer who buys a bag of lettuce expects a clean product, which can be kept and has no health risks. Processors must meet this need, preferably without the use of excessive water and, in many countries, without the use of agents such as chlorine. Sormac researched in its laboratory on a pilot scale and in practice what can be achieved with the use of UV-C for the disinfection of washing water. The results are promising, provided UV-C is applied correctly.

These properties make UV-C extremely suitable for disinfecting water. At this wavelength, the light disrupts the DNA of microorganisms, making them unable to reproduce. The germicidal effect is maximum between 240 and 280 nm.  UV-C is ultraviolet light, outside of the human-perceptible part of the spectrum.

To measure is to know

The test results are unambiguous: the microbiological contamination in washing water with UV-C disinfection is more than 2 log, so 99% lower than the contamination in washing water without UV-C disinfection, see graph.

The microbiologically cleaner washing water also has a clear positive effect on the washed end product. A reduction of approximately 1.5 log (approximately 96%) was measured in a 2-step washing process with UV-C only in the second washer. This is shown in the graph below. Without the application of UV-C, the reduction is no more than about 65%.

The use of UV-C disinfection has three advantages for the processor. It reduces the risk of cross-contamination, transferring pathogens from one product to another. Second, it extends the shelf life of the product because it is microbiologically cleaner. Finally, UV-C disinfection offers economic savings because less fresh water is needed.

Are you interested in UV-C disinfection? Sormac is happy to help you.



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