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Ozone may provide environmentally safe protection for grains

e the same quality as those made from untreated grain.

"We wanted to determine if the grain looked any different; if it milled the same way; if it made flour the same way. Does bread taste the same when made from ozonated wheat?" Mason said. "Essentially, there were no differences. The food industry can take grain that's been treated with ozone and know it won't affect their ability to come up with the same products in the end."

The team also checked how ozone treatments affected amounts of important amino acids and essential fatty acids, fats not produced by the body. The treatments caused no significant difference in any of the nutritional and metabolic values of these substances in any of the grains studied, Mason said.

The scientists began their study after a company that uses ozone air purification systems in hospitals noticed that air vents were cockroach free. Absence of cockroaches in a large building is unusual, so the researchers tested various ozone doses on different insects and found the gas was fatal to bugs.

"All the species we tested seemed affected," Mason said. "The only ones we don't have control over are immature weevils since they are hidden within the kernels. Ozone, unlike chemical fumigants, doesn't penetrate into the kernel enough to kill immature insects."

Currently, the researchers are studying ways to use ozone as a preventative treatment by possibly sealing of grain storage facilities with layers of ozone, much the way a jelly jar is capped with wax.

The USDA National Research Initiative provided funding for this study.


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Contact: Susan A. Steeves
ssteeves@aes.purdue.edu
765-496-7481
Purdue University
30-Jan-2003


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