This study was conducted to investigate the inactivation of foodborne pathogens and the quality characteristics of fresh chicken breasts after UVC light-emitting diode (UVC-LED) treatment. Fresh chicken breasts were separately inoculated with Salmonella Typhimurium, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes at initial populations of 6.01, 5.80, and 6.22 log CFU/cm2, respectively, and then treated with UVC-LED irradiation at 1,000 to 4,000 mJ/cm2. UVC-LED irradiation inactivated the test bacteria in a dose-dependent manner. After UVC-LED treatment at 4,000 mJ/cm2, the populations of Salmonella Typhimurium, E. coli O157:H7, and L. monocytogenes on chicken breasts were decreased by 1.90, 2.25, and 2.18 log CFU/cm2, respectively. No significant changes (P > 0.05) were found in color, pH, texture, and thiobarbituric acid–reactive substances of chicken breasts following UVC-LED irradiation at doses ≤4,000 mJ/cm2. These results indicate that UVC-LED radiation is a promising technology for reducing the level of microorganisms while maintaining the physicochemical characteristics of poultry meat.

  • UVC-LED irradiation inactivated the tested pathogenic bacteria on chicken breasts.

  • Color, pH, and texture of samples were not significantly affected by UVC-LED irradiation.

  • UVC-LED treatment may be an alternative to thermal treatment for poultry meat.

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