A Multifunctional Sanitation Method for Food Processing
Long duration space missions either to the moon or to Mars will require food provided from plants grown in life support bioregenerative chambers. These systems will integrate food production with atmosphere regeneration and water recycling, increasing self-sufficiency and decreasing the need for expensive resupply from earth. Since maintaining crew health is of utmost importance, food must be produced and processed under highly sanitary conditions to minimize the risk of food borne diseases. New sanitation methods and procedures are urgently needed to meet this challenge. This proposal concerns the use of a new, totally enclosed vapor phase sterilization system. The device is unique because it operates without using consumable chemicals carried on board or resupplied from earth. The disinfectant that is generated acts against a broad range of potentially pathogenic microorganisms and it is generally safe to apply directly to foods. The disinfectant can also be externally applied to utensils, food preparation surfaces and processing equipment and there are no harmful wastes produced that could impact an integrated bioregenerative system. The proposal includes preliminary test results demonstrating the device¿s operating characteristics. The aim of Phase I is to demostrate the method¿s feasibility as a food sanitizing agent. The long-term goal is to provide sanitation hardware to NASA for use in food processing.
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