Irradiation has broad scope of applications in the nutrient processing industry, and it involves the procedure of exposing nutrient to command degree of ionising radiation. Food irradiations are besides known as cold sterilisation, ionising radiation, surface pasteurisation, electronic pasteurisation. These are used to destruct the bacteriums, parasites and demobilize the insects, casts, barm, which is entirely responsible in botching the bulk of nutrients. Ionizing radiation or ionising energy can be used to handle nutrients for widening the shelf life every bit good as bettering safety and quality of nutrients. The irradiation procedure involve passing of nutrient through radiation field leting the nutrient to absorb the coveted sum of radiation to ionise the H2O molecules present in nutrient stuff. The reactive molecules or free group ( H+) produced during ionisation procedure in the nutrients by irradiation injures or destruct microorganism instantly, by altering or muffling the construction of cell membrane and impacting the metabolic enzyme activity. Ionizing radiations act straight on DNA, therefore the Deoxyribonucleic acid will be ionized or excited doing concatenation of biological alterations leads to cell decease. The procedure is proficient and societal as it replaces the harmful chemicals and exposure of nutrient to high temperature and force per unit area saving processing techniques. This paper is focused on the application of irradiations in different merchandises of nutrient processing industry.

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Irradiation is the controlled application of energy from ionising radiations from such as gamma beams, negatrons and X raies to nutrient and bio agricultural merchandises for hygienization and shelf life extension. Radiation processing of nutrients has the possible to supply world with benefits as riddance of chemicals and fumigants for insect disinfestations, riddance of nutrient borne pathogens and parasites and to supply high quality packaged nutrient with long shelf life at room temperature1. Microbes likeVibrio cholera,Salmonella typhymurium, Shigella.sps,andListeria monocytogensare destroyed in nutrients by irradiation. The engineering is being used by the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre( BARC)for suppressing the germination, hold maturation, and to increase the sprouting rate of assorted agro-food trade goods to maximise the productiveness of cereal harvests. The most recent add-on to the long list of saving techniques is the nutrient irradiation with assorted application in nutrient engineering ; radiation-pasteurization of spices, milk, fruits, meat, and domestic fowl ; disinfestations of grains ; sprout suppression in murphies, onions and Allium sativum ; hold of maturing and subsequent shelf life extension of bananas, Mangifera indicas, papaia, Psidium littorale, and alligator pear2. In many states the procedure of low dose radiations in combination with other nutrient saving techniques consequences a great hope in speed uping the gait of advancement.

Mechanism of Action

The reactive ions green goodss by the irradiations injure or destruct the microorganism by changing/muting the construction of cell membrane and affects the metabolic enzyme activity. However the more of import is on deoxyribonucleic acid ( DNA ) and ribonucleic acid in cell karyon which are required by micro-organism for growing and reproduction. The consequence of radiation become evident after a period of clip, DNA spiral fails to wind off and the microorganism can non reproduce by reproduction.

Fig.1: Gamma irradiator for nutrient processing, Beginning: www.foodirradiationequipment.com3

The sanctioned beginnings of gamma beams for nutrient irradiation are cobalt- 60 ( the most common ) and cesium-1374. The dosage ( figure of kGy ) permitted varies harmonizing to the type of nutrient degrees as follows:

  1. Low doses– ( up to 1 kGy ) designed to command insects in grains, inhibit shooting in white murphies, control Trichinella spiralis in porc, inhibit decay and control insects in fruits and veggies.
  2. Medium doses– ( 1-10 kGy ) designed to commandSalmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter and Yersiniain meat, domestic fowl and fish hold cast growing on strawberries and other fruits.
  3. High doses– ( greater than 10 kGy ) designed to kill micro-organisms and insects in spices commercially sterilize nutrients, destructing all micro-organisms thermally sterilized5of public wellness concern

Application of Irradiation in Food Processing

Decrease of Pathogenic Microorganisms

Escherichia coli O157: H7, Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, Listeria monocytogenes, and Vibrioare of primary concern from a public wellness point of view because of the badness of the unwellnesss and/or because of the higher figure of eruptions and single instances of foodborne unwellness associated with these pathogens.

Inhibitionof Sprouting and Ripening

A really low radiation dosage of 0.15 kGy or less inhibits shooting of merchandises such as murphies, yams, onions, Allium sativum, ginger, and chestnuts. It leaves no residues and allows storage at higher temperatures. Irradiation of murphies, stored at higher temperatures ( 10O-15OC ) , has better processing quality6. Commercial processing of irradiated murphies has been carried out in Japan since 1973. Irradiation retards the natural decay of fruit and veggies, therefore widening shelf life.


The head job encountered in saving of grains and grain merchandises is insect infestation. Irradiation has been shown to be an effectual plague control method for these trade goods and a good option to methyl bromide, the most widely used fumigant for insect control, which is being phased out globally because of its ozone depleting belongingss. Unlike methyl bromide, irradiation is non an ozone consuming substance and unlike phosphine, the other major fumigant used to command grain plagues, irradiation is a fast intervention and its efficaciousness is non temperature dependant. The dose required for insect control is moderately low, in the order of 1 kGy

Extension of shelf-life

The shelf-life of many fruits and veggies, meat, domestic fowl, fish and seafood can be well prolonged by intervention with combinations of low-dose irradiation and infrigidation that do non change spirit or texture. Many spoilage micro-organisms, such asPseudomonas spp. , are comparatively sensitive to irradiation. Exposure to a low dosage of radiation can decelerate down the maturation of some fruits, control fungous putrefaction in some others and ripening in certain veggies, thereby widening their shelf-life.

Current Status of Food Irradiation Technology in India

In India, pilot graduated table nutrient irradiation installations bing at Defense research lab, Jodhpur and Food Technology Division,BARC.For puting up of nutrient irradiation installations, a licence has to be obtainened from the section of Atomic Energy. For any nutrient to be cleared for irradiation a request has to be filled to the National Monitoring Agency(NMA) set up by the govt. of India for this intent. An adept group set up by NMA, so surveies the proposal and refers it to the Central Committee for Food Standard(CCFS )under the Ministry of Health. After analyzing the recommendation of the CCFS a individual is allowed to put up a nutrient irradiation works in India. Govt. of India approved the irradiation of onion, murphy, and spices for selling.

Safety of Irradiated Foods

Irradiated nutrient does non go radioactive. In 1981, the Food and Agricultural Organization ( FAO ) of the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA ) , and the World Health Organization concluded that “ any nutrient irradiated up to an mean dosage of 1 Mrad or less is wholesome for worlds as reference in table below and therefore should be approved without farther testing ” .7

Food Merchandise


Purpose Of Treatment

Wheat flour

0.2-0.5 kGy

Control of cast


.3-1.0 kGy

Trichina parasites

Fruit and veggies

1.0 kGy

Insect control, increase shelf life

Herbs and spices

30 kGy


Domestic fowl

3 kGy

Bacterial pathogen decrease


4.5 kGy

Bacterial pathogen decrease

Table:Dosage degree of irradiation for diff. nutrient merchandises ;

Beginning:[ Radomyski,]8

A joint commission of the FAO, WHO, and IAEA claim that losingss of vitamins in nutrients treated with irradiation doses of 1 kGy or less are minimum and compatible, does non do a important lessening in the nutritionary quality of nutrients. [ Radomyski, EL.]8

Future Trends and Prospects

Irradiation processing can be used to ease storage, motion and distribution of agricultural trade goods from production centres to ingestion centres and to forestall station crop losingss during these operations. Astronauts and astronauts have been taking radiation processed nutrient as portion of their ration on the assorted infinite flights. Indian Navy has been besides taking radiation processed nutrient. With more factual information on radiation processing, public sentiment is hoped to alter in favour of the engineering and play an of import function in cutting losingss and cut downing the dependance on chemical pesticides in coaction with other bing engineerings and work out all the jobs of postharvest nutrient losingss,


  1. J.F. Diehl, “Food irradiation: is it an alternate to chemical preservatives” ,J. Phys. ,9, 409-416. ( 1992 ) .
  2. Satin, M. , “Food irradiation, a guidebook” , Economic Publ. Co. , Inc. Lancaster, PA. , pp.223-236 ( 1998 ) .
  3. hypertext transfer protocol: //
  4. R.A. Molins. , ” Food Irradiation: Principle and application” . Willey Publ. ( First Edition ) , USA. pp. 213-191 ( 2001 ) .
  5. Fellow P. , Food treating engineering, rules and patterns, 2neodymiumedition. Oxford brooky University, woodhead pub. , Washington, DC. ( 2001 )
  6. Thayer, D.W.” Food irradiation: benefits and concerns” .J. Food Quality,13, 147-169. ( 1990 )
  7. McKinnon, R.G. , ” Safety considerations in the design of gamma irradiation installations and the handling of cobalt-60 sources” .Vol. 3, pp. 563-565. ( 1988 )
  8. Radomyski, T. , E. A. Murano, D.G. Olson, and P.S. Murano, “Elimination of pathogens of significance in nutrient by low-dose irradiation: a reappraisal. J. Food Protection,57, 73-86. ( 1994 ) .

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