A Purdue University researcher has found a way to eliminate bacteria in packaged foods such as spinach and tomatoes, a process that could eliminate worries concerning some food-borne illnesses, according to an article on the university’s Web site.

Kevin Keener designed a device consisting of a set of high-voltage coils attached to a small transformer that generates a room-temperature plasma field inside a package, ionizing the gases inside. The process kills harmful bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella, which have caused major public health concerns.

Advertisement

"Conceptually, we can put any kind of packaged food we want in there," said Keener, an associate professor in the Department of Food Science. "So far, it has worked on spinach and tomatoes, but it could work on any type of produce or other food."

Keener said the next step is to develop a commercial prototype of the device that could work on large quantities of food.