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Cold Plasmas for Microbial Control in the Food Chain

Project Description

The ability to generate plasmas (quasi-neutral, wholly or partially ionised gases) at ambient or tissue tolerable temperatures has given rise to the nascent field of plasma medicine. Cold plasmas have rapidly evolved as a technology for biological applications such as microbial decontamination and wound healing, owing to the chemical and bioactive radicals generated reactive oxygen (ROS) and nitrogen species (RNS), known collectively as RONS. This technology is increasingly proposed for applications in human medicine and recently many potential applications in the agri-food sector have emerged. Queen’s University Belfast have recently established the AgriPlas Centre for Cold Plasmas in AgriFood Research to explore this exciting technology for controlling food and feed contamination, reducing antibiotic use in the food chain and reducing food waste.

This Industry CAST award in partnership with Linden Foods, aims to understand and develop cold plasma based approaches to control spoilage-associated microorganisms and extend shelf-life of fresh, processed meat products. Cold plasma offers a range of unique possibilities in extension of product shelf-life through the in-situ production of a diverse range of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) which are rapidly antimicrobial and in a range of modalities (direct plasma exposure, plasma activated water and in-pack plasma production) which are available in the AgriPlas lab. Thus, we (QUB-Linden Foods) are uniquely placed, through this PhD programme, to evaluate and translate cold plasma technology into real-world food processing applications.

Funding Notes

UK/EU only
Funding covers a three-year full-time PhD
Applicants should have a 1st or 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include Pharmacy, Molecular Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biochemistry, Biological/Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, or a closely related discipline.

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