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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractFood production is a growing industry in Arizona making safe and sustainable practices for irrigating crops of the utmost importance. Harvesting materials such as knives, packing crates, plastic pallets and processing tables are constantly exposed to soil and other bacteria- laden environments presenting the risk for contamination. Irrigation pipelines are assembled using rubber gaskets to make a watertight seal. The gasket pipeline interface is a warm, moist environment that is subject to biofilm accumulation. Therefore, a long-term sanitization treatment of these materials would be greatly beneficial to the farms of Yuma, Arizona. Quaternary ammonium compounds and chlorine dioxide have proven to be sufficient household cleaning products. Our work examined the efficiency of these products as well as others in long- term sanitization of harvesting materials and irrigation systems. Treating materials with these compounds did not inhibit microbial growth or prevent biofilm accumulation in irrigation systems. The first study treated of harvesting materials (knives) with sanitization treatments. Samples were qualitatively analyzing the presence of Escherichia coli (E. coli) as an indicator bacteria and its ability to survive on the equipment after the equipment goes through three different treatments; water (as a control), QACs and bleach. The second study determined the efficacy of these treatments on packing materials such as wood, plastic and metal. Both studies found the treatment, given the contamination levels present in the study, was not an effective microbial control. The third study will quantified the presence of heterotrophic bacteria, E. coli and Salmonella as indicators of biofilm accumulation on irrigation pipeline gaskets. The same treatment methods were used for the gaskets that hold the irrigation pipelines together. The study determined that treating the gaskets did not inhibit the growth of biofilms and that pretreatment was not an effective microbial control. A field study determined that treatment residues did not affect the growth of spinach. The present research provides preliminary data to assist in the development of future studies.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Soil, Water and Environmental Science