Black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) bacterial decontamination by sterilization and microwave treatments
Microbial number reduction in spices through various treatments represents a necessity considering possible changes which may occur during spices’ storage and application in food resulting in public health risk. The present study was conducted in order to examine the effects of sterilisation and microwave irradiation treatments on total mesophilic aerobic bacteria (TMAB) and bacterial spore content reduction in black pepper. Treatments applied were: sterilisation at 130 °C during 30, 60 and 90 min; and microwave irradiation at a power level of 600 W during 1.5, 3, and 5 min. Prolongation of the sterilisation treatment expressed positive influence on TMAB and bacterial spore reduction in black pepper.
Compared to the sterilisation, microwave irradiation treatment exhibited better results in terms of black pepper decontamination. Maximal decontamination regarding TMAB and bacterial spore was achieved in black pepper samples treated with microwave irradiation during 3 min. The present results suggest that microwave irradiation could be applied in black pepper decontamination considering better effectiveness compared to the sterilisation treatment.
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