BioIonix, Inc. manufactures high performance catalytic disinfection systems that generate reactive oxygen and activated chlorine disinfectants, collectively called BioIonix SuperOxidants. Food processors use BioIonix systems to disinfect food products by immersion or spray and to provide microbial control of washing and cooling water and brines that contact food surfaces, thereby permitting extended water reuse by the customer.
Most customers focus on the disinfection of bacterial species, typically total aerobic plate counts and indicator organisms like Salmonella, E-coli and Listeria, which often are monitored by FDA and USDA regulators. At the same time, BioIonix SuperOxidants effectively reduce and control other microbial species, including viruses. In its research in conjunction with customers BioIonix has demonstrated effective microbial control not only of bacteria, but also mold, yeast, protozoa and plankton. Depending on the species, some of these other microbials can have pathogenic effects on humans or food animals, and can change the taste, visual appeal, or reduce the shelf life of products harboring them.
This research report discusses a non-confidential portion of work done in conjunction with a leading fresh-cut vegetable processor on shredded cabbage, a product used in prepared coleslaw, packaged salads and other foods. The very high cut surface area to volume ratio of this product and its attendant high organic loads provide a difficult challenge for bacterial disinfection and microbial control. This is further complicated by the short, less-than-one- minute, contact time that the freshly shredded product typically has in vegetable processing washing flumes.
The concerns in this application are not only bacterial control but also shelf life, product appearance and taste, all of which can be affected by yeast and mold. The positive results seen in these tests are expected to apply broadly to other food processing applications with similar concerns. Consistent with this, BioIonix has received anecdotal comments from customers in other food processing market segments stating that seasonal mold problems affecting shelf life were virtually eliminated after a BioIonix system was installed.