The consumption of fresh produce is steadily increasing and chlorine washing is the most commonly used method of disinfecting fresh produce. However, chlorine washing possesses a potential risk. Hence, this study used ozone microbubble (OMB) water to disinfect Salmonella Enteritidis, S. Typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli on tomatoes. After injecting ozone into the microbubble generator, OMB was fulfilled in a 10 L tank for 10 or 20 min. The inoculated tomatoes were washed for 30 or 60 s. Control groups included unwashed, water-washed, microbubble-only, and ozone-only. The microbial populations were significantly lower on the OMB-treated tomatoes than controls (p < 0.05), but not between various fulfilling or treatment time (p > 0.05). When tomatoes were treated with OMB with 10 min fulfilling and 30-s washing, the differences of tested bacteria and water washing, ozone-only, and microbubble-only were: S. Enteritidis: 4.11, 3.37, 2.54 log CFU/tomato; S. Typhimurium: 4.83, 4.50, 2.78 log CFU/tomato; E. coli: 4.31, 4.08, 2.09 log CFU/tomato; S. aureus: 4.12, 3.93, 2.82 log CFU/tomato. In addition, significant higher ozone concentrations and conductivity were detected in OMB water than other groups (p < 0.05). Color, texture, and sensory characteristics of the OMB-treated tomatoes were not significantly different from other groups (p > 0.05). This study demonstrated that OMB effectively inactivated bacteria on tomatoes and did not affect the physical and sensory characteristics of tomatoes.
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