Radio frequency dielectric heating and hyperspectral imaging of common foodborne pathogens



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Kansas State University


Intervention techniques to control foodborne pathogens, and rapid identification of pathogens in food are of vital importance to ensure food safety. Therefore, the first objective of this research was to study the efficacy of radio frequency dielectric heating (RFDH) against C. sakazakii and Salmonella spp. in nonfat dry milk (NDM) at 75, 80, 85, or 90°C. Using thermal-death-time (TDT) disks, D-values of C. sakazakii in high heat (HH)- and low heat (LH)-NDM were 24.86 and 23.0 min at 75°C, 13.75 and 7.52 min at 80°C, 8.0 and 6.03 min at 85°C, and 5.57 and 5.37 min at 90°C, respectively. D-values of Salmonella spp. in HH- and LH-NDM were 23.02 and 24.94 min at 75°C, 10.45 and 12.54 min at 80°C, 8.63 and 8.68 min at 85°C, and 5.82 and 4.55 min at 90°C, respectively. The predicted (TDT) and observed (RFDH) destruction of C. sakazakii and Salmonella spp. were in agreement, indicating that the organisms' behavior was similar regardless of the heating system (conventional vs. RFDH). However, RFDH can be used as a faster and more uniform heating method for NDM to achieve the target temperatures. The second objective of this research was to study if hyperspectral imaging can be used for the rapid identification and differentiation of various foodborne pathogens. Four strains of C. sakazakii, 5 strains of Salmonella spp., 8 strains of E. coli, and 1 strain each of L. monocytogenes and S. aureus were used in the study. Principal component analysis and kNN (k-nearest neighbor) were used to develop classification models, which were then validated using a cross-validation technique. Classification accuracy of various strains within genera including C. sakazakii, Salmonella spp. and E. coli, respectively was 100%; except within C. sakazakii, strain BAA-894, and within E. coli, strains O26, O45 and O121 had 66.67% accuracy. When all strains were studied together (irrespective of their genera) for the classification, only C. sakazakii P1, E. coli O104, O111 and O145, S. Montevideo, and L. monocytogenes had 100% classification accuracy; whereas, E. coli O45 and S. Tennessee were not classified (classification accuracy of 0%).



Radio frequency dielectric heating, Hyperspectral imaging, Foodborne pathogens

Graduation Month



Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Food Science

Major Professor

Randall K. Phebus