Kronen washing machine tests yield positive results for lettuce
A year-long research project involving Kronen’s newly developed HEWA washing machine has yielded positive results in an industrial setting for fresh-cut lettuce.
The SPLASH project found evidence of a positive antimicrobial effect using the machine with plasma-treated water compared to the washing process using normal tap water, according to a news release from Kronen.
No negative effects on the product were detected, according to the release, as the project achieved its objective of developing a resource-conserving washing process using non-thermal plasma technology for gently disinfecting cut lettuce.
The SPLASH project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), ended in November. Partners from the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB Potsdam), the company Gartenfrisch Jung GmbH, the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Research and Technology (INP Greifswald) and KRONEN GmbH will continue working to scale the solution for the industrial market, according to the release.
Tests using plasma-treated water (PTW) to process baby leaf lettuce and other types of lettuce in the HEWA washing machine took place at a facility owned by fresh produce manufacturer Gartenfrisch Jung GmbH. The tests examined the disinfection efficiency in the wash water and on the treated products, resource savings compared to other disinfection methods, and the optimization of the products’ suitability for storage and transport.
Along with the positive antimicrobial effects observed in testing, the hygienization of the lettuce also helped avoid premature spoilage, according to the release.
Kronen designed the HEWA washing machine with no horizontal surfaces to allow optimal water discharge, according to the release. The machine can also be fully dismantled for easy, thorough cleaning.
Project partners will publish the testing results while working to clarifying issues concerning the classification of PTW as a production resource, according to the release.