Comparison of low energy and high energy electron beam treatments on sensory and chemical properties of seeds

Heikki Aisala (Corresponding Author), Heli Nygren, Tuulikki Seppänen-laakso, Raija-Liisa Heiniö, M. Kießling, K. Aganovic, A. Waser, H. Kotilainen, Anneli Ritala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Consumption of fresh and minimally processed foods such as seeds as a part of a healthy diet is a trend. Unfortunately, fat-rich seeds are often contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms and face frequent product recalls. Electron beams have been applied as a microbial decontamination measure for decades. Conventionally high energy electron beams (HEEB) are being used, whereas low energy electron beams (LEEB, <300 keV) have only recently been introduced to the food industry and more studies are needed. Electron beam treatment has several advantages over other decontamination technologies. The treatment is non-thermal, chemical-free, water-free, and does not use radioactive substances. The effect of electron beams on the sensory and chemical properties of seeds has not been widely studied. This study assessed LEEB and HEEB treated pumpkin and flax seeds immediately after treatments, and after three months of storage. The seeds’ sensory profiles were altered after both treatments when compared with non-treated samples, with a higher dose leading to a greater level of alteration. However, the sensory profile of LEEB treated seeds was similar to the non-treated seeds whereas HEEB treated seeds differed from both. The storage period of three months further increased the observed differences between the samples. LEEB and HEEB treatments seemed to cause lipid degradation as the content of volatile aldehydes was increased. This effect was more profound in HEEB treated samples. The data presented in this study shows that LEEB as a microbial reduction solution has great potential to preserve the chemical and sensory properties of nutritious seeds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110575
JournalFood Research International
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Electron beam
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Sensory profiling
  • Lipids
  • Volatile compounds


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