Scientists from Ural Federal University and Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Science have developed surface disinfection technology for killing bacteria on packed eggs.

To safely and rapidly kill bacteria, the eggs are exposed to an electron beam for 50 nanoseconds (or one-billionth of a second). According to its developers, the technique kills bacteria like salmonella on the eggshells, protecting them from the potential for contamination during storage and also encourages the growth of broiler chickens immune to viral diseases.

Reportedly the surface disinfection technology does not alter the protein, yolk or shell of the eggs, nor does it impact the quality or volume of the chicks that eventually emerge from the treated eggs.

Source: UrFU/Ilya SafarovSource: UrFU/Ilya Safarov

"86% of chickens from untreated eggs show signs of chronic inflammation. In chickens from irradiated eggs, this figure reached only 4%," explained researcher Sergey Sokovnin. "At the same time, chickens from the second group had an increased immunity to Newcastle disease. This is a bird's viral disease. It means that chickens from sterilized eggs will be less sick. And it will be possible to significantly reduce the dose of antibiotics when they are growing."

Additionally, the Ural Federal University team suggests that the surface disinfection technology can reduce production times and costs because it is quicker to hatch chickens from clean eggs — a process that usually takes anywhere from 22 to 24 hours but has been accomplished in just 16 to 18 hours using the new surface disinfection process.

Further, the technology can irradiate up to 40 eggs per second and researchers suggest that the technology can eventually be applied to the eggs of different birds or to treat food encased in its own natural packaging such as seeds, oranges or bananas.

The research on the surface disinfection technology appears in the journal Food and Bioproducts Processing.

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