An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year from eating foods contaminated with listeria monocytogenes, and about 260 people die, according to the CDC.
University of Houston Researchers Discover CoO-TiO2 Compound to Mitigate Bacterial Contamination
Listeria contaminations can send food processing facilities into full crisis mode with mass product recalls, federal warnings and even hospitalization or death for people who consume the contaminated products. Destroying the bacterium and stopping its spread can be challenging because of the formation of biofilms, or communities of resistant bacteria that adhere to drains or other surfaces.
Researchers at the University of Houston are reporting in the Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering that cobalt-doped titanium-dioxide (CoO-TiO2) stops the reproduction of listeria monocytogenes in both light and dark conditions. This bacteriostatic effect could lead to bacterial control in food products that are not only sealed but also protected from light such as tetra packs, cans and dark glass or plastic bottles.
“The addition of cobalt, a heavy metal, drastically improved the effectiveness of titanium-dioxide because now it works under regular human conditions — sunlight, fluorescent light such as light bulbs and even in ‘the absence of light,’ like in a freezer,” said Francisco Robles, lead author for the study and associate professor of mechanical engineering technology.
Titanium-dioxide has long been an effective catalyst in the chemical industry with many applications, but it has limitations because ultraviolet light is needed to make it work, according to Robles. “UV light sources are in short supply in sunlight and producing it is expensive and a health hazard (e.g. carcinogen), so we set out to find a solution. Making it effective under natural light conditions is significant, and free,” he said.
A naturally occurring mineral, titanium-dioxide is often used in the food industry as an additive or whitening agent for sauces, dressings and powdered foods and is considered safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It’s also used in sunscreen for its protective effects against UV/UVB rays from the sun.
Sujata Sirsat, study co-author and assistant professor at UH’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, believes cobalt-doped titanium-dioxide, whether manufactured directly into food packaging or added to food products, could potentially reduce the risk for large listeria outbreaks in food processing environments.
“Listeria is a rare foodborne pathogen that can survive in refrigerated conditions. So, if you had a contaminated bowl of potato salad, not only can listeria survive, it can increase in numbers potentially causing a serious health issue. The cobalt-doped titanium dioxide can potentially stop the spread in its tracks,” said Sirsat, an expert in food safety and public health, who said toxicity testing is needed to determine its safety in food products.
An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year from eating foods contaminated with listeria monocytogenes, and about 260 people die, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has led investigations on 19 multistate listeria monocytogenes outbreaks involving fruits, vegetables, deli meats, cheeses and more since 2011. The infection is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults over 65 and people with weakened immune systems.
The researchers believe cobalt-doped titanium-dioxide could have a wide range of applications beyond bacteria control. “You could coat hospital plates with it to make them incapable of forming bacteria or coat the packaging of milk and other dairy products. You could even add it to paint to make bacteria-controlled paint. The possibilities are tremendous,” said Robles, who has been studying the effects of the chemical compound for nearly 15 years.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- A Regional Grocery Chain Recalls This Vegetable Product Due to Listeriaon September 4, 2020 at 8:22 am
Giant Food Stores, a regional grocery chain with more than 160 locations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C., has issued a voluntary recall of one of their pre-cut ...
- FOOD RECALL: Check your freezer for a squash noodle medley from Gianton September 3, 2020 at 6:47 am
If you are a Giant shopper, check your freezer for a squash noodle medley. The supermarket chain issued a recall.
- Squash noodle medley sold at Giant Food recalled for possible listeriaon September 2, 2020 at 3:45 pm
A product sold at Giant Food grocery stores in the D.C. area is being recalled due to a possible listeria contamination.
- Giant issues recall for squash noodle medley after listeria foundon September 2, 2020 at 1:03 pm
The Giant Co. announced a recall of squash noodle medley that was sold at Giant and Martin’s grocery stores between August 8 and August 19. The product has been pulled from the shelves. Giant was ...
- Giant Food Recalling Squash Noodle Medley Over Listeria Concernson September 2, 2020 at 10:54 am
Giant Food is recalling a number of squash noodle medley products over listeria concerns, the grocery chain said Wednesday.
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Journal of nanoscience and nanotechnologyon September 2, 2020 at 5:00 pm
Technology Computer-Aided Design-Based Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis Model for Back-Channel-Etched Thin-Film Transistors with Floating Metal Components. Effects of Thin-Film ...
- Chemistry & Physicson September 2, 2020 at 2:13 am
Let's Talk Science. Let's Talk Medicine. The leading scientific social networking website and producer of educational virtual events and webinars.
- Light-weight and fast-charging: the next development of the silicon batteryon August 31, 2020 at 10:47 am
Engineers are continually working on developing more efficient, sustainable batteries – and there has been a lot of progress in the last years. One such development comes from researchers at Clemson ...
- Vegetables News and Researchon August 30, 2020 at 5:00 pm
New research shows that vitamin C could help over 50s retain muscle mass in later life. Good news for pasta eaters! New research published in Frontiers in Nutrition this month, analyzing the diets ...
- Small (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany)on August 29, 2020 at 5:00 pm
Mechanistic Similarities between 3D Human Bronchial Epithelium and Mice Lung, Exposed to Copper Oxide Nanoparticles, Support Non-Animal Methods for Hazard Assessment. 21st Century Tools for ...