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Use of Chlorine on the Farm

Written by Janice M on . Posted in Agriculture & Soil, Hygiene & Quality Control

More_mud_please_smChlorine’s first role in food safety and water disinfection is on the farm. Chlorinated water lowers the transmission of disease-causing pathogens to crops and farm animals. It also prevents the formation of bacterial slime on implements and watering equipment.     To gain background knowledge on the general properties and usage of chlorine, it is recommended that you read this article first: Seed Treatments:
  • Disinfection of seed by soaking chlorinated water (often with heating) is used to reduce the potential for viral, bacterial and fungal diseases.
  • Recently, following repeated outbreaks of Salmonella and E.coli on sprouted seeds, such as alfalfa, it is recommended that they are presoaked in a 20 000 mg/l calcium hypochlorite solution.
Irrigation
  • Chlorine is used to treat irrigation water for control of plant pathogens in mainlines, gated pipe and drip lines
  • Prevents bacterial slime on trickle / drip irrigation lines
  • Useful in the treatment of Nutrient film Culture water in the hydroponic production of vegetables to control root pathogens.
 

Horticultural Activities using Chlorinated Disinfectants in Fresh Fruit & Vegetables

Activity Application Rate (mg/l) Primary Target Microbe or Benefit In Use
Seed Soak /Soak with heated water 200 to 2000 Seed-borne pathogen (virus, bacteria, fungi) Common
Cuttings / Slips Spray / Soak 20 to 40 Bacteria, fungal spores Limited
Cutting / Grafting Implements Dip / Spray 25 to 100 Bacteria, fungal spores, virus Common
Automated Propagation Potato seed-piece cutting blades 50 to 100 Bacteria Limited
Transplant Production Irrigation water 1.0 to 2.5 bacteria, Pythium, Pytophthora, Colletotrichum spp. Limited
Hydroponic Culture irrigation, fertigation water. Nutrient Film Culture 0.5 to 1.5 bacteria, Pythium, Pytophthora, Colletotrichum spp. Limited
Drip Line Maintenance Purge injection 50 to 150 acidified Biofilm removal and prevention Common
Well Treatment Purge treatment 200 to 500 Coliform elimination Common
Spray Tank Treatment General sanitation 50 to 150 Biofilm removal and prevention Limited
Field Equipment (discs, blades, tracks) General sanitation 50 to 100 with high pressure sprayer Soil-borne pathogens Limited
Harvest Totes General sanitation 50 to 150 Bacterial, fungal spores Common
Head Spray Cauliflower 50 to 100 with plastic over-wrap Prevent floret browning (bacteria, fungi and enzymatic browning from harvest damage) Common
Drench Tanks wash water sanitation 50 to 400 Bacterial, fungal spores Common
Dump Tanks and Flotation Tanks Tomato, Pepper, Citrus, Apples, Pears 50 to 400 Bacterial, fungal spores, surface microbial load reduction Common
Flumes Tomatoes, sweet potatoes 150 to 200 with heat Bacteria, fungal spores Common
Wash spray Bars Wash water sanitation 75 to 150 Bacteria, surface microbial load reduction Common
Ice injection source ice disinfection 25 to 50 Colifom elimination, virus Limited
Hydro cooler Cooling water sanitation 50 to 300 Bacteria, surface microbial load reduction Common
Abrasive peelers Wash water sanitation 50 to 200 Bacteria, surface microbial load reduction Common
Minimally Processed Vegetables Wash and cooling water sanitation 50 to 200 Bacteria, surface microbial load reduction Common
Packing Line Sanitation Conveyer belts, pads, diverters, shutes, etc Chlorinated foams or chlorinated water sprays (variable) Biofilm prevention, general microbial reduction on contact surfaces Limited
Misting Lines and Nozzles Water sanitation distribution centers, retail display 5 to 10 Biofilm prevention, coliform elimination Common
Retail Trim and Wash Wash water sanitation 25 to 50 Bacteria, surface microbial load reduction Uncommon
*Chlorination in the production and postharvest handling of fresh fruits and vegetables by Trevor Suslow Extension Specialist Postharvest Pathology, Transportation & Distribution

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