Sci Rep. 2022 Oct 15;12(1):17323. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-22335-5.
The potential of the surface dielectric barrier discharge technique (SDBD) was evaluated to decontaminate the date palm fruit. Preliminary investigations emphasized that Aspergillus niger fungus was predominant in most date samples as a post-harvest infestation. The influence of SDBD techniques on the viability of A. niger isolated from date varieties was investigated and documented. Physical and chemical characterizations of treated dates were assessed, and statistical correlation coefficients were calculated and elucidated. A 4 log10 reduction of A. niger radial growth was observed at 3 min exposure/15 days of incubation. Simultaneous reductions in pH, water activity, and moisture content of treated dates were observed when compared to untreated dates. Statistical analysis showed a positive correlation between physical and chemical variables with the viability of A. niger in treated samples. Therefore, we believe that SDBD treatment will be a promising technique for decontaminating date fruits from attacked fungi, which will positively impact sustainable food security and consumer health.