Cold plasma disinfection in the food industry


The issue of disinfecting surfaces, raw materials and end products in the food industry is always an acute issue. In the period of the coronavirus pandemic, high-quality disinfection, compliance with a variety of sanitary standards and the extension of the shelf life of products in this industry are more relevant than ever.

The technology of disinfection of products, semi-finished products and surfaces using cold plasma is an effective and economical alternative to existing disinfection methods. Plasma allows you to reduce the cost of processing products and increase the efficiency of disinfection, ensuring high biosafety.

„Plasma destroys 99.9% of bacteria, fungi, viruses and microbes.”

– According recent von Brunn study at the Max von Pettenkofer Institute in Munich

Applications of cold plasma in the food industry

Low-temperature plasma is useful in the production, storage and packaging of food and convenience foods. It is capable of destroying up to 99.9% of pathogenic microorganisms, including fungi, bacteria and viruses.

Plasma effectively disinfects hard and soft foods, including fresh vegetables and fruits, cereals, herbs, meat. This aspect is especially important for manufacturers of ready-to-eat foods that do not require heat treatment before eating. Also, this technology is relevant for manufacturers of perishable products.


Cold plasma is effective in many cases:

  • Pasteurization and sterilization of products (deactivation of harmful enzymes, elimination of toxins, destruction of harmful bacteria);
  • Disinfection of surfaces, including packaging and conveyor belts (the method is also suitable for processing the inner walls of juice boxes);
  • Production of sterile food packaging;
  • Production of meat and other products with a long shelf life;
  • Increased crop yields (plasma does not damage grains and seeds).

Why cold plasma disinfection of food is effective: the essence of technology

Cold plasma is a partially ionized gas with an operating temperature of about 30-40 ° C. The flow of this gas destroys harmful microorganisms on foods, surfaces and in the air due to the presence in the plasma of a complex of active oxidants, charged particles, free radicals and excited neutral ultraviolet molecules. All these elements destroy cell membranes and spores of fungi, viruses and bacteria.

In the case of plasma treatment of sealed products, the packaging acts as a dielectric barrier that transmits voltage but does not transmit electricity. Thus, the plasma penetrates into the package, disinfecting its contents and extending the shelf life of the products.

Plasma disinfection equipment is placed above the conveyor belt, often the devices are adjusted according to a number of parameters, including height. Thanks to this, the surface of the products and the conveyor line itself are uniformly treated with ionized gas. Equipping a workshop with devices for disinfection with low-temperature plasma is quick, simple and cost-effective.

Advantages of technology in the food industry:

  • The method allows you to destroy 99.9% of pathogenic microorganisms, while neither high temperatures nor chemically aggressive reagents are used - low-temperature plasma does not change the structure, color, taste and presentation. This is an environmentally friendly, safe type of disinfection carried out at room temperature and atmospheric pressure;
  • Disinfection takes from a few seconds to a minute, depending on the type of product;
  • Disinfection of food does not require removal from the package;
  • Products can be packaged immediately after processing;
  • Shelf life increases up to 2 or more times, depending on the type of product and packaging, storage conditions, transportation

The equipment of the workshop is economically profitable: the cost of a cold plasma installation quickly pays off due to low energy consumption, optimization of water consumption in production, ease of installation and equipment maintenance. Cold plasma technology is an effective, safe and economical way of disinfection, sterilization and biodecontamination of raw materials, products, packaging materials and equipment. It is a practical and promising alternative to thermal and chemical treatment.