Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2022 Feb 16:1-13. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2022.2038077. Online ahead of print.
In recent years, the consumption of nuts has shown an increasing trend worldwide. Nuts are an essential part of several countries’ economies as an excellent source of nutrients and bioactive compounds. They are contaminated by environmental factors, improper harvesting practices, inadequate packaging procedures, improper storage, and transportation. The longer storage time also leads to the greater chances of contamination from pathogenic fungi. Nuts are infected with Aspergillus species, Penicillium species, Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes. Therefore, nuts are associated with a high risk of pathogens and mycotoxins, which demand the urgency of using techniques for enhancing microbial safety and shelf-life stability. Many techniques such as ozone, cold plasma, irradiation, radiofrequency have been explored for the decontamination of nuts. These techniques have different efficiencies for reducing the contamination depending on processing parameters, type of pathogen, and conditions of food material. This review provides insight into decontamination technologies for reducing microbial contamination from nuts.