Poliana Mendes de Souza

Poliana Mendes de Souza

Federal University of Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valley

Title: UV-C applied to food: Microbiological, physic-chemical and sensorial implications


Poliana Mendes de Souza is a Brazilian Food Engineer, with master and Ph.D in the field of emerging technologies applied to food. She has completed her Ph.D at the age of 27 years from Polytechnic University of Valencia and after that she is working as researcher and professor at the Federal University of Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valley.


UV-C treatment of food is a promising non-thermal processing technology to improve food safety and preservation. UV-C light is highly effective at penetrating thin-walled germs like viruses and bacteria. The light alters the genetic structure of the germ leading to inactivation. When a virus or microorganism comes in contact with UV-C its nucleus is penetrated, and its DNA is irreparably damaged, which results in death or the inability to reproduce, as well as the spread of unwanted germs. Some experimental work can be found in the literature reporting the efficiency of UV-C on eggs, juices, wines and other liquid food. On solid foods, the UV-C is most used on surface decontamination. At the same time that studies are done on food microbiological decontamination, studies starts to appear correlating the UV-C with food quality. Most of the chemical constituents of food absorb UV-C light that can lead to chemical modifications and quality changes. Food products treated with this new technology show improvement (or maintain) the quality from the untreated product. Although, the damage on fat components are demonstrated, and also slight protein damage. These UV-C-induced oxidative modifications in egg preparations however did not cause any increase in the cyto- or genotoxic (DNA strand breaks) effects in intestinal Caco-2 cells. This study confirms no adverse effects on consumer acceptance of egg products processed by UV-C, with overall appearance or taste similar to the controls. Those findings are valuable to further consider UV-C treatment of eggs as a feasible alternative to heat.