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02.12.2021 - Press review
Research Project “SPLASH”: Successful Testing of New Disinfection Technology
Research Project “SPLASH”: Successful Testing of New Disinfection Technology

Since 2019, along with the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomics (ATB Potsdam), Gartenfrisch Jung GmbH and the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Research and Technology e.V. (INP Greifswald) KRONEN has been working on developing an innovative washing process for fresh cut lettuce. During the Project Meeting at KRONEN´s Head Office, a washing machine specially adapted for this decontamination process has now been tested. The next step in the project sees an extensive testing phase actually in the production line of one of the project members Gartenfrisch Jung, manufacturer of fresh-convenience.

The initial point of the research project is to prevent the risk of microorganisms from contaminating packed cut lettuce. Commonly, cell sap released from freshly cut lettuce combined with humidity (unavoidable in plastic packaging) provides a breeding ground for microorganisms.

An innovative washing process for more consumer safety

The main aim of the project is to create a resource-saving washing process for cut lettuce using a non-thermal plasma procedure. Hygienic treatment of the lettuce prevents premature spoilage therefore increasing consumer safety. Furthermore, the process is particularly gentle.

The tests that were carried out during the Project Meeting in Kehl were very successful. The washing machine specially adapted to the decontamination washing process was tested with cut iceberg lettuce (and put into operation live on site) by the project members. During the one-day workshop the project partners from both institutes and the manufacturer of fresh-convenience exchanged ideas with the KRONEN team regarding further results and next steps in the Project.

Further research into the Process with a subsequent test phase

Following the successful workshop, the washing machine will now undergo a test phase installed in the production at Gartenfrisch Jung GmbH and further data will be collected on the washing procedure. Here the focus is on the study of the disinfection efficiency in the wash water, the conservation of resources and the optimisation of transport and shelf life of the products.

The project sponsor of the research project is the German Federal Agency for Food and Agriculture. Funding is provided as part of the programme to promote innovation of the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture.