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Edible Food Coating Kills Bacteria And Adds Flavor

The recent E.coli bacteria outbreak in some vegetables revealed the fact that mere cleaning techniques will not be effective in treating deadly //bacteria’s, growing concern of the experts. As a result, researchers have come up with an alternate solution - Edible coating, which helps in fighting the bacteria apart from adding flavor.

Edible coating for fresh fruits and vegetables enables it to kill the deadly E-coli bacteria and also provides a flavor-boost to food. Composed of apple puree and oregano oil, which acts as a natural antibacterial agent, the coating shows promise in laboratory studies of becoming a long-lasting, potent alternative to conventional produce washes, according to a team of scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the University of Lleida in Spain.

The study comes on the heels of the recent deadly E. coli outbreak in spinach and is scheduled for the Nov. 29 issue of the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

"All produce-cleaning methods help to some degree, but our new coatings and films may provide a more concentrated, longer-lasting method for killing bacteria," says Research Leader Tara H. McHugh, Ph.D., a food chemist with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Albany, Calif. As the films are made of fruit or vegetable puree, they also provide added health benefits such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, she says.

Researchers have known about the antimicrobial activity of plant-derived essential oils for some time, but McHugh says that her group is the first to incorporate them into a fruit- or vegetable-based edible food wrap for the purpose of improving food safety. Three years ago, she and her associates developed a similar edible food wrap, but without the antimicrobial properties.

The new antimicrobial coatings have not been tested on fresh produce yet, McHugh notes. The current study only tested the coatings against E
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