U.S – In a bid to mitigate corrosion risks and hygiene concerns prevalent in the food sector, researchers from Texas A&M University have unveiled a two-step coating for galvanized steel food containers.

Led by Dr. Mustafa Akbulut and Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos, the team asserts that their innovation can reduce corrosion by at least 70 percent, marking a significant stride in food safety technology.

Galvanized steel containers are widely utilized in the food industry for storing harvested produce due to their durability, strength, and cost-effectiveness compared to stainless steel alternatives.

However, bacterial colonization within storage containers has historically led to corrosion issues, posing potential health hazards for consumers.

“This material is more durable and doesn’t experience corrosion. The surface itself can repel bacteria so it doesn’t harbor germs,” Dr. Akbulut elaborated on the innovation process.

By imparting superhydrophobicity and antifouling properties to galvanized steel surfaces, the novel coating effectively inhibits the attachment of fungi, bacteria, and other contaminants, thereby bolstering food safety standards.

Published in the Journal of Food Engineering, the research underscores the critical role of the coating in safeguarding consumers against foodborne illnesses.

“People trust that they’re buying something safe, and it will not affect their health. Right now, the industry does their best to reduce those risks, but you will hear about outbreaks of these contaminations and people getting sick,” Dr. Cisneros-Zevallos emphasized the potential impact on public health.

The coating’s efficacy in diminishing bacterial strains within a short timeframe and minimizing adherence to foodborne pathogens like Aspergillus underlines its potential to revolutionize food storage practices.

Moreover, its adaptability for use in grain storage silos and other food-related storage units positions it as a versatile solution for enhancing food safety across various agricultural settings.

The researchers envision widespread adoption of their coating technology within the food processing industry. Dr. Cisneros-Zevallos expressed optimism about its potential to foster greater trust between processors and consumers, ultimately ensuring the delivery of safe, contaminant-free food products.

With ongoing efforts to integrate advancements from other fields into agriculture, the coating represents a pivotal step toward modernizing food safety practices. Dr. Akbulut highlighted its direct impact on daily life and emphasized its role in making food production safer and more reliable for consumers worldwide.

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