Interactions of human pathogens within vertical farming operations and preventative control approaches to enhance food safety

Lead Applicant: Keith Warriner

Research Priority: Food Safety Projects

Program Type: Tier 1

Funding Cycle: 2022/2023

Research Centre: NA

Research Summary: Vertical farming is considered less prone to contamination than conventional farming because the production system is enclosed. However, previous studies have shown that high hydration and lack of a competitive microflora can enhance colonization by pathogens such as Salmonella. This project will assess the fate of pathogens when introduced onto the seed, growth medium, and on growing plants (microgreen and baby-leaf). Once established, the project will then look at interventions based on the hydroxyl-radical process to reduce pathogen carriage associated with the inputs and impact on extending shelf-life. This research will enhance food safety within vertical farming operations and potentially increase shelf-life and yields, all of which contribute to sustainability in crop production.