Light-Emitting Diode for the Inactivation of Microorganisms on Fruits and Vegetables

  • Anbazhagi Muthukumar
Part of the Microorganisms for Sustainability book series (MICRO, volume 17)


The light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for the inactivation of microorganisms on fruits and vegetables have been recognized as an innovative, non-thermal, as well as non-chemical treatment for disinfection process. However, with the advancement of technology, including gaining devices with better luminous output; low radiant heat emissions; high emissions of monochromatic light; long life expectancy; mechanical robustness; and a greater diversity of peak wavelengths, LEDs have shown more applications in the food industry, especially in the areas of microbiological quality. Therefore, the methods seem to be rapid, efficient, and reliable in reducing thermal damage of food and are suitable in cold-storage applications, as well as more effective in increasing the shelf life of food materials along with good preservation ability. Executing LEDs in the food industry has been showing enhanced nutritive quality of foods in the postharvest stage, an increased ripening rate of fruits, and deterrence in fungal infections. LEDs can also be used together with photosensitizers or photocatalysts to inactivate pathogenic bacteria on fruits and vegetables. Even though the technique is more environmentally friendly rather than traditional technologies, several challenges and limitations are identified, including the difficulty in acceptability of fruits and vegetables stored and processed under LED lighting, optimizing LED lighting regimens for postharvest storage, the stability of inactive microorganisms, spoilage of enzymes, etc. However, these methods can provide a non-thermal means of keeping food safe without the use of chemical sanitizers or additives and may prevent the development of bacterial resistance.


Bacterial inactivation Disinfection Food preservation Light-emitting diode 


  1. Ahn SY, Kim SA, Yun HK (2015) Inhibition of Botrytis cinerea and accumulation of stilbene compounds by light-emitting diodes of grapevine leaves and differential expression of defense-related genes. Eur J Plant Pathol 143(4):753–765Google Scholar
  2. Aihara M, Lian X, Shimohata T et al (2014) Vegetable surface sterilization system using UVA light-emitting diodes. J Med Investig 61(3.4):285–290Google Scholar
  3. Akgün MP, Ünlütürk S (2017) Effects of ultraviolet light emitting diodes (LEDs) on microbial and enzyme inactivation of apple juice. Int J Food Microbiol 260:65–74PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. ANSES (2013) French agency for food, environmental and occupational health and safety. LED e light-emitting diodes: health effects of lighting systems using light-emitting diodes (LEDs)Google Scholar
  5. Aoyagi Y, Takeuchi M, Yoshida K (2011) Inactivation of bacterial viruses in water using deep ultraviolet semiconductor light-emitting diode. J Environ Eng 137(12):1215–1218Google Scholar
  6. Aponiene K, Paskeviciute E, Reklaitis I et al (2015) Reduction of microbial contamination of fruits and vegetables by hypericin-based photosensitization: comparison with other emerging antimicrobial treatments. J Food Eng 144:29–35Google Scholar
  7. Bhagwat AA (2006) Microbiological safety of fresh-cut produce: where are we now? In: Microbiology of fresh produce. American Society of Microbiology Press, Washington, DC, pp 121–165Google Scholar
  8. Bourget CM (2008) An introduction to light-emitting diodes. Hortic Sci 43(7):1944–1946Google Scholar
  9. Branas C, Azcondo FJ, Alonso JM (2013) Solid-state lighting: a system review. IEEE Ind Electron Mag 7(4):6–14Google Scholar
  10. Bumah VV, Masson-Meyers DS, Cashin SE et al (2013) Wavelength and bacterial density influence the bactericidal effect of blue light on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Photomed Laser Surg 31(11):547–553PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Chang MH, Das D, Varde PV et al (2012) Light emitting diodes reliability review. Microelectron Reliab 52(5):762–782Google Scholar
  12. Chen Z, Liu Z, Shen G et al (2016) Effect of chain flexibility of epoxy encapsulants on the performance and reliability of light-emitting diodes. Ind Eng Chem Res 55(28):7635–7645Google Scholar
  13. Choi HG, Moon BY, Kang NJ (2015) Effects of LED light on the production of strawberry during cultivation in a plastic greenhouse and in a growth chamber. Sci Hortic 189:22–31Google Scholar
  14. Colquhoun TA, Schwieterman ML, Gilbert JL et al (2013) Light modulation of volatile organic compounds from petunia flowers and select fruits. Postharvest Biol Technol 86:37–44Google Scholar
  15. D’Souza C, Yuk HG, Khoo GH et al (2015) Application of light-emitting diodes in food production, postharvest preservation, and microbiological food safety. Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf 14(6):719–740Google Scholar
  16. de Wit M, Spoel SH, Sanchez-Perez GF et al (2013) Perception of low red: far-red ratio comprises both salicylic acid-and jasmonic acid-dependent pathogen defences in Arabidopsis. Plant J 75:90PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. DenBaars SP, Feezell D, Kelchner K et al (2013) Development of gallium-nitride-based light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and laser diodes for energy-efficient lighting and displays. Acta Mater 61(3):945–951Google Scholar
  18. Dong C, Fu Y, Liu G et al (2014) Growth, photosynthetic characteristics, antioxidant capacity and biomass yield and quality of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) exposed to LED light sources with different spectra combinations. J Agron Crop Sci 200(3):219–230Google Scholar
  19. Durantini EN (2006) Photodynamic inactivation of bacteria. Current bioactive compounds. Bentham Sci Publ 2(2):127e142Google Scholar
  20. Forney LJ, Moraru CI (2009) Ultraviolet light in food technology: principles and applications. CRC press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  21. Frank C, Werber D, Cramer JP et al (2011) Epidemic profile of Shiga-toxin–producing Escherichia coli O104: H4 outbreak in Germany. N Engl J Med 365(19):1771–1780PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Genoud T, Buchala AJ, Chua NH et al (2002) Phytochrome signalling modulates the SA-perceptive pathway in Arabidopsis. Plant J 31(1):87–95PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Ghate VS, Ng KS, Zhou W et al (2013) Antibacterial effect of light emitting diodes of visible wavelengths on selected foodborne pathogens at different illumination temperatures. Int J Food Microbiol 166(3):399–406PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Ghate V, Leong AL, Kumar A, Bang WS, Zhou W, Yuk HG (2015) Enhancing the antibacterial effect of 461 and 521 nm light emitting diodes on selected foodborne pathogens in trypticase soy broth by acidic and alkaline pH conditions. Food Microbiol 48:49–57PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Guffey JS, Wilborn J (2006) In vitro bactericidal effects of 405-nm and 470-nm blue light. Photomed Laser Ther 24(6):684–688Google Scholar
  26. Gupta SD (ed) (2017) Light emitting diodes for agriculture: smart lighting. Springer, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  27. Gupta SD, Jatothu B (2013) Fundamentals and applications of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in in vitro plant growth and morphogenesis. Plant Biotechnol Rep 7(3):211–220Google Scholar
  28. Hamamoto A, Mori M, Takahashi A et al (2007) New water disinfection system using UVA light-emitting diodes. J Appl Microbiol 103(6):2291–2298PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Hao X, Little C, Khosla S (2012) LED inter-lighting in year-round greenhouse mini-cucumber production. Acta Hortic 956:335–340Google Scholar
  30. Hasan MM, Bashir T, Ghosh R et al (2017) An overview of LEDs’ effects on the production of bioactive compounds and crop quality. Molecules 22(9):1420PubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. Held G (2016) Introduction to light emitting diode technology and applications. Auerbach Publications, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  32. Kanazawa K, Hashimoto T, Yoshida S et al (2012) Short photoirradiation induces flavonoid synthesis and increases its production in postharvest vegetables. J Agric Food Chem 60(17):4359–4368PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Kim MJ (2016) Photodynamic inactivation by 405±5 nm light emitting diode against foodborne pathogens on ready-to-eat foods and its antibactterial mechanism. Doctoral dissertation, National University of SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  34. Koutchma T, Forney LJ, Moraru CI (2015) Ultraviolet light in food technology: principles and applications. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  35. Kumar A, Ghate V, Kim MJ et al (2015) Kinetics of bacterial inactivation by 405 nm and 520 nm light emitting diodes and the role of endogenous coproporphyrin on bacterial susceptibility. J Photochem Photobiol B Biol 149:37–44Google Scholar
  36. Lee YJ, Ha JY, Oh JE et al (2014) The effect of LED irradiation on the quality of cabbage stored at a low temperature. Food Sci Biotechnol 23(4):1087–1093Google Scholar
  37. Liao HL, Alferez F, Burns JK (2013) Assessment of blue light treatments on citrus postharvest diseases. Postharvest Biol Technol 81:81–88Google Scholar
  38. Lucht L, Blank G, BOUSA J (1998) Recovery of foodborne microorganisms from potentially lethal radiation damage. J Food Prot 61(5):586–590PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Luksiene Z (2003) Photodynamic therapy: mechanism of action and ways to improve the efficiency of treatment. Medicina (Kaunas) 39(12):1137–1150Google Scholar
  40. Lukšiene Ž (2005) New approach to inactivation of harmful and pathogenic microorganisms by photosensitization. Food Technol Biotechnol 43(4):411–418Google Scholar
  41. Luksiene Z, Paskeviciute E (2011) Novel approach to the microbial decontamination of strawberries: chlorophyllin-based photosensitization. J Appl Microbiol 110(5):1274–1283PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Luksienė Ž, Zukauskas A (2009) Prospects of photosensitization in control of pathogenic and harmful micro-organisms. J Appl Microbiol 107:1415–1424PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Luksiene Z, Buchovec I, Paskeviciute E (2009) Inactivation of food pathogen Bacillus cereus by photosensitization in vitro and on the surface of packaging material. J Appl Microbiol 107(6):2037–2046PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Maclean M, MacGregor SJ, Anderson JG et al (2009) Inactivation of bacterial pathogens following exposure to light from a 405-nanometer light-emitting diode array. Appl Environ Microbiol 75(7):1932–1937PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  45. Mitchell CA, Both AJ, Bourget CM et al (2012) Horticultural science focus-LEDs: the future of greenhouse lighting! Chron Hortic Subscrip 52(1):6Google Scholar
  46. Moreno JE, Tao Y, Chory J et al (2009) Ecological modulation of plant defense via phytochrome control of jasmonate sensitivity. Proc Natl Acad Sci 106(12):4935–4940PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Mori M, Hamamoto A, Takahashi A et al (2007) Development of a new water sterilization device with a 365 nm UV-LED. Med Biol Eng Comput 45(12):1237–1241PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Morrow RC (2008) LED lighting in horticulture. Hortic Sci 43(7):1947–1950Google Scholar
  49. Murdoch LE, McKenzie K, Maclean M et al (2013) Lethal effects of high-intensity violet 405-nm light on Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Candida albicans, and on dormant and germinating spores of Aspergillus niger. Fungal Biol 117(7-8):519–527PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Nagasawa Y, Hirano A (2018) A review of AlGaN-based deep-ultraviolet light-emitting diodes on sapphire. Appl Sci 8(8):1264Google Scholar
  51. Nelson JA, Bugbee B (2014) Economic analysis of greenhouse lighting: light emitting diodes vs. high intensity discharge fixtures. PloS one 9(6):e99010PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  52. Nunes MM, de Alencar Mota ALA, Caldas ED (2013) Investigation of food and water microbiological conditions and foodborne disease outbreaks in the Federal District, Brazil. Food Control 34(1):235–240Google Scholar
  53. Park JY, Lee JH, Raju GSR et al (2014) Synthesis and luminescent characteristics of yellow emitting GdSr2AlO5: Ce3+ phosphor for blue light based white LED. Ceram Int 40(4):5693–5698Google Scholar
  54. Pinho P, Jokinen K, Halonen L (2012) Horticultural lighting–present and future challenges. Light Res Technol 44(4):427–437Google Scholar
  55. Raybaudi-Massilia R, Calderón-Gabaldón MI, Mosqueda-Melgar J et al (2013) Inactivation of Salmonella enterica ser. Poona and Listeria monocytogenes on fresh-cut “Maradol” red papaya (Carica papaya L) treated with UV-C light and malic acid. J Verbr Lebensm 8(1-2):37–44Google Scholar
  56. Rosenquist H, Smidt L, Andersen SR et al (2005) Occurrence and significance of Bacillus cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis in ready-to-eat food. FEMS Microbiol Lett 250(1):129–136PubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Sabzalian MR, Heydarizadeh P, Zahedi M et al (2014) High performance of vegetables, flowers, and medicinal plants in a red-blue LED incubator for indoor plant production. Agron Sustain Dev 34(4):879–886Google Scholar
  58. Schubert EF (2018) Light-emitting diodes. E. Fred SchubertGoogle Scholar
  59. Sherrill WJ, Min JK, Hyun GY (2018) Inactivation of Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella spp. on cantaloupe rinds by blue light emitting diodes (LEDs). Food Microbiol 76:219–225Google Scholar
  60. Shital P, Rahul CR, Pujari KH et al (2017) LEDs as Novel Chemical-Free Food Preservation Technology. Int J Soc Sci Dev 12(4):2454–6003Google Scholar
  61. Shur MS, Gaska R (2010) Deep-ultraviolet light-emitting diodes. IEEE Trans Electron Devices 57:12–25Google Scholar
  62. Sim HL, Hong YK, Yoon WB et al (2013) Behavior of Salmonella spp. and natural microbiota on fresh-cut dragon fruits at different storage temperatures. Int J Food Microbiol 160(3):239–244PubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Song K, Mohseni M, Taghipour F (2016) Application of ultraviolet light-emitting diodes (UV-LEDs) for water disinfection: A review. Water Res 94:341–349PubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Srimagal A, Ramesh T, Sahu JK (2016) Effect of light emitting diode treatment on inactivation of Escherichia coli in milk. LWT Food Sci Technol 71:378–385Google Scholar
  65. Suthaparan A, Torre S, Stensvand A (2010) Specific light-emitting diodes can suppress sporulation of Podosphaera pannosa on greenhouse roses. Plant Dis 94(9):1105–1110PubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Tamanna R, Srimagal A, Vikram P et al (2014) Light Emitting Diode: a novel technique for preservation of agro and food commodities. In: 3rd international conference on agriculture & horticulture, Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology, India, Agrotechnol 2014, 2:4Google Scholar
  67. United States Department of Energy (2012) Using LEDs to their best advantage. Building technologies program: solid-state lighting technology fact sheet. Available from: Accessed 13 Feb 2015
  68. Wang H, Jiang YP, Yu HJ et al (2010) Light quality affects incidence of powdery mildew, expression of defence-related genes and associated metabolism in cucumber plants. Eur J Plant Pathol 127(1):125–135Google Scholar
  69. Wu MC, Hou CY, Jiang CM (2007) A novel approach of LED light radiation improves the antioxidant activity of pea seedlings. Food Chem 101(4):1753–1758Google Scholar
  70. Yeh N, Chung JP (2009) High-brightness LEDs—Energy efficient lighting sources and their potential in indoor plant cultivation. Renew Sust Energ Rev 13(8):2175–2180Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anbazhagi Muthukumar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science, School of Earth Science SystemsCentral University of KeralaKasaragodIndia

Personalised recommendations