UV-C Exposure enhances crops and activates defenses

Dr. Rohanie Maharaj of The University of Trinidad and Tobago on effects of UV-C:

“In the context of the different postharvest handling treatments, the potential of UV-C exposure has enormous possibilities as a non-chemical treatment to sanitize and reduce microbial loads. The beneficial action of UV-C is thought to be as a result of the activation of multiple defense systems involving secondary stress metabolites such as phytoalexins and enzymic and non-enzymic antioxidants. The intensification of natural defense mechanisms of higher plant so that they can defend themselves against infection and diseases.”

Benefits of UV-C treatment on vegetables and fruits

According to a study by Maria Turtoi of the Faculty of Food Science and Engineering, Dunarea de Jos University of Galati:

The exposure of horticultural crops to non-ionizing artificial UV-C light has been considered as an alternative to chemical fungicide in order to control postharvest diseases. Furthermore, researches were shown that UV-C is also able to induce resistance of fruits and vegetables to postharvest storage rots and to delay the ripening process extending the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. Moreover, when used at the optimum level, UV-C light induces an accumulation of phytoalexins that play an important role in the resistance to disease of many plant systems and activates genes encoding pathogenesis- related proteins.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are highly susceptible to microbial spoilage. This can be avoided with the application of surface treatments. The treatment of their surface has to be as gentle as possible for keeping the integrity and the freshness of fruits and vegetables. Minimal processing techniques such as ultraviolet light treatment meet these requirements. The use of UV-C light treatment proved to be effective at reducing microbial loads of pathogens on fresh fruits and vegetables.

If you want to read more about the results of UV-C treatment on many different kinds of fruits and vegetables: click here