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ACS Omega




Pulsed electric fields (PEFs) are often used to pretreat foods to enhance subsequent processes, such as drying, where maintaining food product quality is important for consumer satisfaction. This study aims to establish a threshold PEF exposure to determine the doses at which electroporation is viable for use on spinach leaves, wherein integrity is maintained postexposure. Three numbers of consecutive pulses (1, 5, 50) and two pulse durations (10 and 100 μs) have been examined herein at a constant pulse repetition of 10 Hz and 1.4 kV/cm field strength. The data indicate that pore formation in itself is not a cause for loss of spinach leaf food quality, i.e., significant changes in color and water content. Rather, cell death, or the rupture of the cell membrane from a high-intensity treatment, is necessary to significantly alter the exterior integrity of the plant tissue. PEF exposures thus can be used on leafy greens up until the point of inactivation before consumers would see any alterations, making reversible electroporation a viable treatment for consumer-intended products. These results open up future opportunities to use emerging technologies based on PEF exposures and provide useful information in setting parameters to avoid food quality diminishment.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.