The ozone (O3) gas antifungal properties on Aspergillus flavus strain inoculated in dry cocoa beans (Theobroma cacao L.) was investigated by applying a factorial design (22), utilizing gas concentrations of 20/40/60 ?mol/mol, time of exposure of 30/105/180 min and 30 days storage. Trials were carried out with two main cocoa groups: Control Group (C –no guess treated) and O3 Treated Group (I, II and III - for three gas concentrations, respectively). The O3 gas was applied into the silos through an inlet aperture, left standing inside the silos (for three exposure times) and then cocoa portions had the gas antifungal efficiency, humidity and lipid stability variation measured (both, just after application at Day zero and after 30 days of storage). As expected, it was observed with the increasing of the O3 concentration (Group I to III) a fungi reduction and as the gas exposure time increased. The response surface showed a 88% A. flavus spores inhibition immediately after the maximum gas concentration and time of exposure reached cocoa beans, followed by total inhibition as the time of storage increased (when compared to Group C). The cocoa moisture content (previous 6.7%) reduced after treatment (6.1%) and the O3 gas conditions showed no cocoa bean lipid oxidation during the storage period. Under the current study conditions, the most effective treatment obtained was of Group III (60 ?mol/mol concentration) at the longer O3 exposure (180 min), as the response surface presented 100% A. flavus spores inhibition.
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Author Name: Heloisa H. Kreibich , Divair Christ, Giovana S. Maria, Juliana Silva, Geovana D. Savi and Vildes M. Scussel
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Keywords: Ozone gas, Contamination, Aspergillus flavus, Cocoa, Theobroma cacao.
EISSN: 2249 –1929