Food science professor Keith Warriner will receive $95,000 in funding over two years from the UC Davis Center for Produce Safety to study the microbial quality of water used to wash produce.
The center is based at the University of California, Davis, and aimed at providing the produce industry and government with information to enhance the safety of produce.
In the commercial processing of fresh produce, it is common practice to partially or fully replenish water tanks used for cleaning produce. How often the water tanks are replenished is subjective and not currently based on a quality indicator.
As part of the grant, Warriner will identify measurable parameters that can be monitored in real time and enable processors to more accurately identify when the water needs to be replenished to properly wash the produce and reduce cross-contamination. He will also develop a cost-effective water-recycling unit based on a combination of filtration and ultraviolet light in order to reduce consumption and waste-water treatment.
Warriner has published more than 100 papers, book chapters, patents and conference abstracts in the area of field microbiology and food-safety research. His work is focused on the development of decontamination technologies, biosensors for biohazard detection and the interaction of human pathogens with plants.