Ozone Treatment as a Food Preservation Technique

Extending the shelf life of food without disturbing its natural quality is a great concern in food technology. Ozone treatment is a possible alternative for food preservation as it has quick decomposition properties with little residual effect.

  • Ozone is triatomic oxygen (O3) with strong oxidizing power and can inactivate microorganisms effectively.
  • It is a very reactive form of oxygen.
  • It is also termed as a “natural disinfectant”.
  • U.S. FDA accepted it as a GRAS substance for water treatment in 1982 and food in 1997.
  • Ozone use for water treatment is the best alternative to replace chemical treatment like chlorination. 
  • Ozone generators are used to produce ozone at safe concentrations; for commercial production, it is generated by corona discharge.
  • During ozone production, O2 breaks into highly reactive singlet oxygen, and this singlet oxygen interacts with additional O2 to form ozone (O3).

Interesting Science Videos

Forms of Ozone

  1. Gaseous ozone
  • Ozone in gaseous form
  • It is used for storage treatment

e.g., the use of Gaseous ozone to decontaminate the eggshell which reduces the risk of spoilage of egg, and use to preserve spices, grains, beans, etc

  1. Aqueous ozone
  • Ozone that is incorporated into the water in bubble form
  • It is used as a surface disinfectant

e.g., to reduce the microbial load of fish fillets

Properties of ozone

  1. Very reactive
  2. Gaseous ozone is soluble in water 
  3. More stable at lower temperatures (4 – 120c) 
  4. More stable at pH 5.0 and unstable at high pH
  5. The stability and effectiveness of ozone depend upon organic and inorganic materials present in food

Process of Formation of Ozone

Addition of a free radical of oxygen to molecular oxygen

  1. High voltage alternating current splits oxygen molecules into atoms
  2. Atoms of oxygen then combine with other oxygen molecules and form ozone (O3)
Ozone Treatment- Food Preservation Technique
Ozone Treatment- Food Preservation Technique

Mode of action of food treatment

  1. Destruct lipids, protein, nucleic acid, and other cellular components due to oxidative reactions
  2. Protein degradation and cellular structure modification
  3. Damage spore inner membrane due to oxidization

Application of Ozone Treatment

  1. To disinfect production areas, plant equipment, and surfaces from microorganisms
  2. Effective to kill spores of Bacillus and Clostridium species. 
  3. Inhibit fungal growth in fruits and vegetables
  4. Gaseous ozone helps to decontaminate eggshell
  5. Reduce the level of natural microbiota in fish products 
  6. Reduce microbial load in spices, grains, beans, etc.

Advantages of Ozone Treatment

  1. High antimicrobial activity as it is 3000 times faster than chlorine at killing microorganisms
  2. Fast decomposition to simple oxygen 
  3. No waste generation 
  4. Lower energy input as compared to other thermal and non-thermal techniques. 
  5. Eco-friendly and economically feasible

Disadvantages of Ozone Treatment

  1. High ozone concentrations can be hazardous.
  2. Cause throat and nasal problems if inhaled by us.
  3. It decomposes quickly, so it cannot be stored. 
  4. Ozone can react with proteins and fats in carcass treatment before inactivating microorganisms.


  1. Potter NP (1987), Food Science, CBS Pub, India.
  2. Rahman MS (1999), Handbook of Food Preservation, Marcel Dekker, Inc, NY.
  3. Desrosier EN (1963), The Technology of Food Preservation, AVI Publishing Company, New York.
  4. Sarron E, Gadonna-Widehem P, Aussenac T. Ozone Treatments for Preserving Fresh Vegetables Quality: A Critical Review. Foods. 2021 Mar 12;10(3):605. doi: 10.3390/foods10030605. PMID: 33809297; PMCID: PMC8000956.
  5. R. Pandiselvam, S. Subhashini, E.P. Banuu Priya, Anjineyulu Kothakota, S.V. Ramesh & S. Shahir (2019) Ozone based food preservation: a promising green technology for enhanced food safety, Ozone: Science & Engineering, 41:1, 17-34, DOI: 10.1080/01919512.2018.1490636.

About Author

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Prabhat Dhakal

Mr. Prabhat Dhakal is an aspiring food and industrial microbiologist pursuing a master's degree in Food and Industrial Microbiology from National College, Kathmandu. He has completed his bachelor's degree in Microbiology from Janapriya Multiple Campus, Pokhara. He is an energetic and optimistic individual looking to showcase excellent presentation skills and transform theoretical knowledge of Food and industrial microbiology into practical application. Research for novel probiotic food, Food safety management system, and Scientific communication are major subjects of his interest.

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