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Degradation of Zearalenone by Atmospheric Cold Plasma: Effect of Selected Process and Product Factors


Zearalenone (ZEA) is a mycotoxin that contaminates cereals and grains. Atmospheric cold plasma (ACP) is a novel non-thermal technology that has the potential to degrade mycotoxins. This study evaluated the potential of ACP and the influence of some of the important product and process factors on the degradation of ZEA. The efficacy of 30 s dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) ACP treatment to degrade ZEA in solution and dry condition was 100% and 66.8%, respectively. The ZEA degradation was influenced by the product substrate as the ZEA degradation rates after 3 min DBD-ACP treatment on canola grain, canola meal, and barley grains were 91.6, 83.2, and 64.8%, respectively. Treatment using light pulses (395 nm wavelength) emitted from light-emitting diodes (LED) for 30 min and thermal treatment at 80 °C for 25 min did not exhibit any synergistic effect with ACP on ZEA degradation. The ZEA degradation rates were not significantly different (p > 0.05) when air and 100% N2 were used to generate the ACP by DBD. Treatment by ACP jet using 85% Ar + 15% O2 resulted in the highest degradation of ZEA compared to other gas mixtures used. The results of ZEA degradation using ACP jet, DBD-ACP, and different gas mixtures indicated that there could be contributions from factors other than the measured reactive species, such as UV light and high-energy electrons on ZEA degradation.

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This study was funded by the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Alberta Canola Producers Commission, and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (grant nos. ACPC103MD2018, 2018F180R, RGPIN-2017–05051, CRDPJ532306).

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E.F: conceptualization, methodology, software, validation, investigation, writing—original draft, review and editing. M.S.R: conceptualization, methodology, investigation, review and editing, supervision, funding acquisition.

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Correspondence to M. S. Roopesh.

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Feizollahi, E., Roopesh, M.S. Degradation of Zearalenone by Atmospheric Cold Plasma: Effect of Selected Process and Product Factors. Food Bioprocess Technol (2021).

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  • Zearalenone
  • UV treatment
  • Plasma jet
  • Cereal grains
  • Mycotoxin
  • Thermal treatment