Ozone, the second most powerful oxidant readily available is an excellent sterilizing agent as well as chemical oxidizing agent. Because of this property, it has been studied for preservation foods. Indeed, many European countries currently employ ozone for maintaining holds of refrigerated ships free of bacteria, molds, odors, ets., for preservation of cheeses, eggs, some meats, poultry, some berries and some fruits. Much of this technology was developed shortly after World War II. Many of the earlier studies reported in the literature came to conflicting conclusions with respect to the efficiancy of ozone in providing improvements in storage lives of perishable foods.
In light of modern advances in ozone generation and associated equipment, as well as increased understandings of the various technologies associated with the application and handling of ozone, and advances in methods of food transportation (containerization and modularization), it is believed to be timely to re-evaluate the potentials for this versatile, but little understood oxidant/disinfectant, to provide cost-effective benefits in food preservation. This paper represents a first attempt to review past and current studies, with suggestions for future studies to develop those benefits which appear to be achievable for the food preservation and distribution industries.
Many studies have been carried out in the past century to evaluate the effectiveness of utilizing ozone in food preservation and transportation of perishable foods. Advances have been made over the years in the development of ozone generation.
The purpose of this study was to review and evaluate many earlier studies involving ozone. Some of the earlier results were inconsistent due to less structured scientific methods and challenges in measuring ozone levels due to lack monitoring systems. Early food preservation studies included: cold storage of fruits including cranberries, apples, oranges, lemons, peaches, and bananas, storage of potatoes, corn seed and soybeans, cheeses, poultry, and fish.
In reviewing these early studies, it is apparent that ozone contributes to extending the shelf life of ripening fruits and vegetables. Many fruits emit ethylene gas, which accelerates their ripening. Ozone reacts with ethylene, produces intermediate ethylene oxide which fights against mold, yeast and bacterial growth and slows the ripening process. Ozone was effective in controlling bacteria and mold on fresh meat when applied early in the meats storage. The bacterial growth rate on the surface of poultry is reduced when washed with ozonated water. Fresh fish preservation through the ozanization of sterlized ice for packaging and transportation offers great potential to eliminate fish spoilage.
OZONE: SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
Vol. 4, pp. 147-163, 1982
Pergamon Press Ltd.
Printed in the USA