Characterization of zinc oxide nanoparticles and their applications in food safety
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In this study, ZnO NPs suspension was studied for their antibacterial activities against Escherichia coli O157:H7. Beef cuts inoculated with E. coli O157:H7 were wrapped with 5% (wt %) yam starch films incorporated with ZnO NPs suspension of 0, 6 and 12 mM and refrigerated at 4oC. An average of 0.5-log reduction of the bacteria growth of the cocktail mixture of three E. coli O157:H7 strains was observed with yam starch films containing 6 or 12 mM ZnO NPs in three replications after 8 days. Various concentrations of ZnO NPs powder from 0.05 to 1% w/w were added to corn starch. The presence and characterization of ZnO NPs in corn starch was investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and energydispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). Quantification of ZnO NPs was determined by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first systematic methodologies presented for detection, characterization, and quantification of ENPs in a food sample by a combination of methods. It could potentially be applied to other common NPs such as TiO2 NPs and MgO NPs in other food products.
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