Decontamination Method Preserves Egg Quality

Scientists at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) have announced a groundbreaking discovery in egg decontamination methods, utilising the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at USask to study and develop an innovative approach. Published recently in the journal LWT, their findings shed light on a novel technique that effectively decontaminates eggs while preserving their nutritional quality.

Traditional egg decontamination processes often rely on chemicals and heat, which can compromise the egg cuticle and shell – natural barriers against bacteria that also play a crucial role in maintaining nutritional quality during storage.

The new method involves treating eggs with tiny water droplets sprayed with high-voltage electricity, effectively decontaminating the shell without damaging its natural barriers. To achieve highly detailed insights, the researchers utilised the CLS’s ultra-bright synchrotron light to obtain intricate 3D scans of the eggs.

Results from the study demonstrate a significant reduction in E. coli and Salmonella bacteria on the eggs, with no observed damage to the cuticle or shell, thus preserving the food’s nutritional integrity.

“We hope this new technique is integrated into existing egg processing lines to ensure thorough removal of pathogens from the egg surface,” stated Mehdi Heydari, a postdoctoral fellow with USask’s College of Engineering and member of the research team. Heydari collaborated with other USask scientists, including principal investigator Lifeng Zhang and co-investigators Karen Schwean-Lardner and Shelley Kirychuk.

“Adopting this emerging, environmentally friendly technology would not only enhance food safety but also reduce carbon dioxide emissions during processing,” Heydari emphasised.

Moving forward, the researchers aim to explore methods for scaling up this technology for large-scale operations.

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Joseph Clarke
Editor, International Bakery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920

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