Reducing Bacterial Growth on Stainless Steel Equipment with Cooking Oil

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Researchers at the University of Toronto have published a report on the use of simple cooking oil to reduce the bacterial load on stainless steel surfaces such as those used in food processing equipment. In the process, the stainless steel is first chemically functionalized with alkylphosphonic acid and then coated with a thin layer of cooking oil. The oil fills in microscopic scrapes, cracks and fissures that may be present on the metal surface, preventing the attachment of bacteria and their subsequent growth.

The research shows that use of the cooking oil barrier can reduce the bacterial load by several orders of magnitude compared to untreated surfaces and that the coating both persists over time and enhances the effectiveness of cleaning with conventional detergents. While the process will not eliminate the need for rigorous maintenance and sanitation procedures in the food plant, it may provide another tool for processors to ensure their equipment remains as sanitary as possible.

The work is published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces and is summarized in a news release from the University of Toronto.

HT: Karen Appold at Food Quality & Safety.