Where can Plasmas be used?
Plasma technology is a very diverse technology that has already unnoticeably become widespread in the food industry. This is evident above all in the plastic packaging sector. Here, plasma treatment serves, in particular, to improve the printability and adhesion of plastic films. However, plasma processes are also used in the decontamination sector for the disinfection of sealed lids for drink bottles by means of UV-radiation sources.
UV- irradiation is also used for the disinfection of factory equipment. Likewise, air filtration equipment is fitted with plasma, on one hand to achieve deodorization and on the other hand to increase the life time of the filter.
The treatment of foodstuffs with plasma is new and is at this time primarily driven forward by the sciences. However, before industrial application, important questions regarding safety must be answered many of which are already being assessed by panels of experts. For more information, see "Stellungnahme zum Einsatz von Plasmaverfahren zur Behandlung von Lebensmitteln" [PDF Download - 85 KB] the DFG Senate Commission for the health-related evaluation of foodstuffs from 25.05.2012.
Fundamentally, plasma is capable of reducing microbiological contaminations and thus influences both the shelf life as well as the health-related risk of unprocessed foods such as freshly cut produce.
Entirely new experiments are employing plasma for food functionalization.
Seeds have also been treated in plasma research for quite a few years. Two goals are being pursued in this research. For one, a reduction of the biological impact is to be obtained to eliminate the chemicals normally used for dressing the seed. The second goal is the targeted control of germination.
- Factory Environment and und Media:
- Drinking water purification with UV light or ozone
- Exhaust air treatment
- Disinfection of factory equipment (CIP/SIP)
- Wettability, print preparation, adhesion
- Disinfection of packaging materials
- Reduction of after harvest losses
- Reduction of processing losses
- Improvement of shelf life/durability
- Improvement of hygenic safety of fresh produce