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Pulsed Light’s application in the food safety and enhancement space

Posted: 14 December 2020 | | No comments yet

New Food recently hosted a webinar in association with XENON Corporation, which explored the use of pulsed UV light for the decontamination and enhancement of foods.

Pulsed light technology for food

The food industry is always on the lookout for new ways to increase the safety and shelf-life of its food products. As the developer and leading innovator of Pulsed Light technology, nobody knows more about this tool and the numerous benefits it offers to the food industry than the experts at XENON Corporation.

What is Pulsed Light?

Pulsed Light is defined as high-energy pulses of light from a xenon light source. A single pulse of xenon light produces a large volume of photons in a short period of time, not unlike a lightning bolt. A single millisecond burst of Pulsed Light is equivalent to the energy that would require 60 seconds of continuous light. That power produces a variety of chemical reactions without generating heat that would damage the product being treated. Xenon light produces a full spectrum, from ultraviolet to visible infrared – a bandwidth nearly identical to sunlight, but with much higher intensity. These characteristics are what make Pulsed Light uniquely able to destroy nearly every type of pathogen including viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.

How does it work?

Pulsed Light attacks cells by a variety of mechanisms. For example, UV-A light damages a cell’s membrane, while UV-B damages the backbone of the DNA. UV-C damages a cell’s protein and thiamine, and visible infrared (VIS-IR) attacks the cell, resulting in water loss. This combined attack on a cell’s structure overcomes the ability of a cell to repair itself through a mechanism called enzymatic photoreactivation. When Pulsed Light kills a pathogen, it stays dead – and with no residuals.

Where is Pulsed Light used in the food industry?

Pulsed Light is a fast, chemical-free technology that can reduce pathogen contamination on conveyors and food packaging. Other known applications of interest to the food industry include shoe sanitisation, decontamination of shipping containers and storage spaces, and disinfection of air and high-touch surfaces using robotic and/or fixed-position products. In addition to its food safety benefits, research has shown that many food products are enhanced by exposure to Pulsed Light. For example, exposing mushrooms to Pulsed Light results in Vitamin D values that exceed the recommended daily allowance as determined by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council. Moreover, many foods’ shelf lives are extended through Pulsed Light treatment.

Where can it be installed?

Pulsed Light systems can be designed to fit within any food processing facility and installed at point along the food production process. Multiple lamps can be installed to eliminate shadowing and with a variety of lamp shapes and sizes available, XENON Corporation is able to develop a customised Pulsed Light solution for nearly any food safety application. We have developed a number of Pulsed Light products with the food industry in mind:

  • The XENON Z-1000 Modular Sterilization System allows for customised Pulsed Light solutions for a range of applications
  • The XENON Z-2000 Conveyor Decontamination System provides continuous disinfection of stainless-steel conveyor belts to supplement, or replace, existing cleaning methods
  • The XENON Z-3000 Pass-Through is designed to disinfect objects as they pass between non-sterile and sterile environments
  • The XENON X-1100 Benchtop Research System is a low-cost, benchtop Pulsed Light system used for testing and validation.

We have the expertise, products and resources required to determine whether Pulsed Light will be effective for the desired application, and deliver a customised solution that has been tested and validated.

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