The effect of X-ray irradiation on Salmonella inactivation and sensory quality of almonds and walnuts as a function of water activity.

Summary of "The effect of X-ray irradiation on Salmonella inactivation and sensory quality of almonds and walnuts as a function of water activity."

The overall goal of this study was to develop a set of process design principles for low-energy X-ray irradiation of tree nuts. Almonds and walnuts were inoculated with Salmonella Enteritidis PT30 and Salmonella Tennessee, and conditioned to four different water activities (0.23, 0.45, 0.64, and 0.84 a(w)). Thereafter, the inoculated/conditioned samples were irradiated to achieve up to a 5-log reduction in Salmonella using a pilot scale low-energy X-ray food irradiator. Greater efficacy (D(10)-value: the dose required to eliminate 90% of the microbial population) for inactivating SE PT30 and S. Tennessee was seen on the surface of almonds (0.226-0.431kGy) than on walnuts (0.474-0.930kGy) at all water activities. Also, the efficacy did not change monotonically with water activity. Overall, no significant difference (P>0.05) in sensory characteristics was seen between non-irradiated almonds and those irradiated to achieve a 5 log reduction in Salmonella. However, irradiating walnuts to the dose corresponding to a 5 log reduction caused a perceivable change in flavor. Post-irradiation storage tests revealed that surviving bacterial counts did not change over 120days, regardless of nut type, Salmonella serovar, and a(w). Therefore, low-energy X-ray irradiation technology appears to be a promising non-thermal pasteurization strategy for certain types of nuts.


Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering Department, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.

Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: International journal of food microbiology
ISSN: 1879-3460
Pages: 365-71


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