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Dr. Rohan V Tikekar wins USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture Grant


December 1, 2013

Dr. Rohan V Tikekar has won a USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant in the amount of $382,000 for a highly rated proposal titled “Synergistic interaction between ultraviolet light and novel photosensitizers for enhanced microbial safety of fresh produce.” This proposal is designed to study the synergy between UV light and UV-generated free radicals from photosensitizers added to wash water. It addresses the need for the produce industry to reduce the load of micro-organisms on bagged and un-bagged produce. Exploring the synergy between UV-generated free radicals and UV may be more efficient that UV alone. Food safety, especially for fresh produce, is a major concern and relatively few techniques are available to producers of fresh produce. UV processing is an attractive technology but limited depth of penetration and non-homogeneous treatment severely limit its usefulness. Measuring the impact of the proposed approach on quality fresh produce will determine if this solution is one that the industry needs to further research and adapt to or not.