The paper presents the development of a model for ozone treatment in a dynamic bed of different microorganisms (Bacillus subtilis, B. cereus, B. pumilus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Aspergillus niger, Eupenicillium cinnamopurpureum) on a heterogeneous matrix (juniper berries, cardamom seeds) initially treated with numerous ozone doses during various contact times was studied. Taking into account various microorganism susceptibility to ozone, it was of great importance to develop a sufficiently effective ozone dose to preserve food products using different strains based on the microbial model. For this purpose, we have chosen the Weibull model to describe the survival curves of different microorganisms. Based on the results of microorganism survival modelling after ozone treatment and considering the least susceptible strains to ozone, we selected the critical ones. Among tested strains, those from genus Bacillus were recognized as the most critical strains. In particular, B. subtilis and B. pumilus possessed the highest resistance to ozone treatment because the time needed to achieve the lowest level of its survival was the longest (up to 17.04 min and 16.89 min for B. pumilus reduction on juniper berry and cardamom seed matrix, respectively). Ozone treatment allow inactivate microorganisms to achieving lower survival rates by ozone dose (20.0 g O₃/m³ O₂, with a flow rate of 0.4 L/min) and contact time (up to 20 min). The results demonstrated that a linear correlation between parameters p and k in Weibull distribution, providing an opportunity to calculate a fitted equation of the process.
Keywords: Weibull; inactivation; microorganisms; ozone treatment; predictive microbiology.