Evaluation of a Dielectric Barrier Discharge Plasma System for Inactivating Pathogens on Cheese Slices

  • Lee, Hyun-Jung (Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Jung, Samooel (Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Jung, Hee-Soo (Agency for Defense Development) ;
  • Park, Sang-Hoo (Department of Physics, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) ;
  • Choe, Won-Ho (Department of Physics, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) ;
  • Ham, Jun-Sang (Division of Quality Control and Utilization, National Institute of Animal Science, RDA) ;
  • Jo, Cheorun (Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology, Chungnam National University)
  • Received : 2012.01.18
  • Accepted : 2012.06.04
  • Published : 2012.06.30


The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential use of a dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma system to improve microbial safety of sliced cheese. The atmospheric pressure plasma (APP) effect on visual appearance and a sensory evaluation were also carried out. The number of Escherichia coli inoculated on cheese slices decreased by 0.09, 0.47, 1.16 and 1.47 log cycles with helium (4 liters/min [lpm]) and 0.05, 0.87, 1.89 and 1.98 log cycles with He/$O_2$ mixture (4 lpm/15 standard cubic centimeters per minute), after being treated with plasma for 1, 5, 10, and 15 min, respectively. Significant reductions were also observed in Staphylococcus aureus inoculated onto cheese slices ranging from 0.05 to 0.45 log cycles with He and from 0.08 to 0.91 log cycles with He/$O_2$-treated samples, respectively. Adding oxygen resulted in a significant increase in inactivation of both pathogens. No visible change in the plasma-treated cheese slices was observed even though the instrumental analysis showed a significant decrease in the $L^*$-value and an increase in the $b^*$-value. The cheese slices were damaged after 10 and 15 min of plasma treatment. In addition, significant reductions in sensory quality including flavor, odor, and acceptability of plasma-treated cheese slices were observed. The results indicate that the DBD plasma system has potential for use in sanitizing food products, although the effect was limited. Further development of the APP system is necessary for industrial use.


Atmospheric pressure plasma;Dielectric barrier discharge;Cheese slices;Pathogen inactivation;Quality


Supported by : Rural Development Administration


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