Use of radiation in food

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When it comes to the “fair”, the appearance of fruits, vegetables and vegetables is what determines the purchase. If they look withered, darkened and dull, it is difficult to leave the shelves. But with modern technologies, this is no longer a problem, thanks to irradiation techniques we can consume fresh food in any season.
We know that foods naturally degrade due to physiological processes such as sprouting, maturation and aging. But external factors such as attack by microorganisms (parasites, pests, bacteria, fungi, etc.) also contribute to degradation.
The use of radiation is an efficient method used by food industries, where food is subjected to a controlled amount of ionizing radiation for a predetermined period. Ionizing radiations used in food are X-rays, gamma rays or electron beam.
The main objective of the irradiation method is to inhibit the maturation of some fruits and vegetables through changes in the physiological process of the present plant tissues. Irradiation also prevents the multiplication of microorganisms that cause food deterioration, by changing its molecular structure, which allows extending the shelf life of some products.

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without radiation with radiation
- onion without radiation: the onion degrades quickly, following its natural loss cycle.
- Onion subjected to radiation: the technology allows to preserve the physical properties and prolongs the shelf life of the product.
Important: the method does not make the food radioactive. The period of exposure to radiation is brief, thus, it does not cause any harm to the product, on the contrary, it makes it safer for the consumer. To find out if the food has been irradiated, look for the seal:

Seal indicative of irradiated food

By Líria Alves
Graduated in Chemistry
Brazil School Team

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food chemistry - Chemistry - Brazil School

Would you like to reference this text in a school or academic work? Look:

SOUZA, Líria Alves de. "Use of radiation in food"; Brazil School. Available in: Accessed on June 27, 2021.
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