A Novel, Chemical free Intervention Nanotechnology For Fresh Produce Surface Disinfection Using Engineered Water Nanostructures

G. Pyrgiotakis, R. Mitchell, A. Vasanthakumar, Y. Gao, A. Dearaujo, M. Eleftheriadou, P. Demokritou
Harvard School of Public Health, US

Keywords: food-borne pathogens, e. coli, salmonella, listeria, engineered water nanostructures


Fruits and Vegetables can become contaminated with pathogens all along their production chain, and when consumed raw or minimally-processed may lead to serious foodborne diseases. Here, we explore the effectiveness of a recently developed, by the investigators, novel intervention nanotechnology-based method for the inactivation of microorganisms (pathogenic and non-pathogenic) on the surface of a variety of fresh produce, resulting in increased safety and shelf life. This method utilizes Engineered Water Nanostructures (EWNS) produced by electrospraying the condensed atmospheric water vapor. The resulting structures possess unique physico-chemical and biological properties. EWNS are highly charged (10 electrons/structure), and have extended lifetime in the air (hours). They are very small in size (25 nm) and loaded primarily with two dominant ROS species, known for their ability to inactivate bacteria. Preliminary experiments with E. coli Salmonella and Listeria suggest that the EWNS, have the potential to be an effective means for inactivating common vegetative bacteria on surfaces. This novel intervention approach is cost effective, chemical and radiation free and leaves no residues or other byproducts. More importantly it can be employed in key points in the fresh produce production chain, from “Farm to Fork”.