عنوان مقاله [English]
Saffron is the most expensive agricultural product in the world and Iran is the largest saffron producer in the world. Saffron contamination in different stages of the production process, in addition to quality loss leads to reducing credit in the global market and exporting. Therefore, it is necessary to select an appropriate method for inactivation the microbial flora of saffron. Among the common methods that used to inactivation the microorganisms, cold plasma is due to the potential benefits such as non-toxic nature, low operational costs, and a significant reduction in water consumption during decontamination, and the possibility of its use for a variety of food products has attracted much attention. Plasma is a state of ionizing gas, including ions, electrons, ultraviolet rays, and reactive species such as radicals, atoms and molecules that can ignite, which can inactivate microorganisms. in this research, cold plasma was produced using two types of gas including nitrogen and air, and the effect of plasma radiation at 0, 3, 6, 9 and 12 minutes on the chemical and microbial (Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, Mold and Yeast) properties of saffron were investigated. The results of this study showed that germicidal effect of nitrogen plasma was lower than air plasma and the plasma exposure time had a significant effect on reduction of microbial load and by increasing the time of plasma exposure, the inactivation of microorganisms increased. The maximum microbial reduction was observed in 12 minutes. Maximum reduction in microbial load was observed at 12 minutes and 18 kilovolt voltage, which reduced the population of Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, mold and yeast by 2/69, 2/48, 1/95 log cycle respectively, However, with increasing radiation time, the amount of crocin, picocrocin and safranal decreased (p˂0.05). Reduction of crocin, safranal and picocrocin in 12 minutes was 6/01, 4/04, 5/44%, respectively.