About the Cold Plasma Research Project


Improving food safety can provide a competitive advantage for Australian horticultural industries.
Foodborne illnesses caused by microbial contamination in fresh produce and nuts can lead to product recalls, loss of consumer confidence and trade disruption – all of which cause economic losses to industry.


Cold plasma is created by applying an electric current to normal air or a gas. This produces reactive gaseous species found to have broadspectrum antimicrobial activity. Cold plasma is effective at temperatures slightly above ambient, which means produce can be treated without being heated.


The benefits to be achieved through Cold Plasma technology include improving food safety and reduced postharvest losses due to decay; reducing treatment time of a few seconds to minutes and providing energy efficient treatment with zero chemical residue.


To develop a decontamination technology based on cold plasma that can kill or inactivate food borne pathogens and rot-causing microbes on fresh produce.  Collaboration with technology partner(s) and horticultural industries to validate, scale-up and commercialise this technology.


A new tool to reduce food safety risks to consumers and industry; and more competitive Australian horticultural industries in both domestic and export markets.


Horticultural growers, processors and packers of commodities of such as:

Fruit: Apple, Blueberry, Citrus, Strawberry
Nuts:  Macadamia and Almonds
Vegetables:  Spinach and Lettuce
Fresh-cut fruit and vegetables

Funding: This project has been funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited with co-investment from NSW Department of Primary Industries and funds from the Australian Government.

Our research aims to support the horticultural industries in supplying fresh, safe and nutritious products to consumers in domestic and export markets

Project Partners


NSW Department of Primary Industries  is a part of the NSW Department of Industry, Skills and Regional Development. NSW DPI managers a broad range of initiatives from resource to industry, including natural resource management, research and development (R&D), pest and disease management, food safety, industry engagement, and market access and competition.

NSW DPI is one of the largest research providers to primary industries in Australia with a massive research portfolio covering multiple disciplines in the agriculture and food sector. NSW DPI works to improve the productivity, sustainability and biosecurity of primary industries. The organisation enters into partnerships and makes significant co-investments in strategic areas to drive economic growth of the agriculture sector.


Hort Innovation is the not-for-profit grower-owned industry services body for Australian horticulture. Hort Innovation invests around $100 million in research and development, and marketing to increase the productivity, farm gate profitability and global competitiveness of Australian horticultural industries.

Visit Website
Visit Website


The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the USDA’s chief scientific in-house research agency. The USDA-ARS conducts research to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority and provide information access and dissemination to ensure high-quality, safe food, and other agricultural products; assess the nutritional needs of Americans; sustain a competitive agricultural economy; enhance the natural resource base and the environment and provide economic opportunities for rural citizens, communities, and society as a whole. Food safety researchers and engineers of the USDA based at the Eastern Regional Research Centre are collaborating on the Cold Plasma Project.


Oxyzone is an Australian company which specializes in the design and manufacture of ozone-based food safety solutions for water treatment, postharvest packing lines, cold storage and other industries. Recently, they have successfully designed, developed and launched an innovative product in collaboration with the Sydney Water Corporation and won an Engineering Excellence Award for it. The company will be a technology partner in this project.

Visit Website
Visit Website

To deliver innovative technologies and solutions for food safety of horticultural industry

The Cold Plasma Research Team

Project Leader

Dr Sukhvinder Pal (SP) Singh PhD

Research Horticulturist-Food Safety
NSW Department of Primary Industries

View Profile

Team Members

Dr Roberto Marques PhD

Research Horticulturist-Sensory Science
NSW Department of Primary Industries

Dr John Golding PhD

Senior Research Scientist
NSW Department of Primary Industries

Lorraine Spohr

NSW Department of Primary Industries

Dr Brendan Niemira PhD

Research Leader, Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research
The United States Department of Agriculture

View Profile
View Profile
View Profile
View Profile

David Hiscock

Oxyzone Pty Ltd

View Profile

Technical Team

Dr Tahria Najnin

Technical Officer
NSW Department of Primary Industries

Stela Gkountina

Technical Assistant
NSW Department of Primary Industries

Shrikrishnica Krishnakumar

Technical Assistant
NSW Department of Primary Industries

Anchal Sabharwal

Technical Assistant
NSW Department of Primary Industries

View Profile
View Profile
View Profile
View Profile

Improving food safety can provide a competitive advantage for Australian horticulture industries

Project Updates

Clean, Green and Safe – Let’s stay ahead and enhance consumer confidence in Australian horticultural produce

Cold plasma technology:  non-thermal, non-chemical, energy efficient and environmentally friendly

Contact Us

Food Safety Research Group

Central Coast Primary Industries Centre
NSW Department of Primary Industries

North Loop Road, the University Campus,
Ourimbah 2258 NSW Australia

Mail: Locked Bag 26, Gosford 2250 NSW Australia

T: 02 4348 1935

F: 02 4348 1910

E: SP.Singh@dpi.nsw.gov.au

W: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au

Disclaimer:  NSW Department of Primary Industries and Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA Ltd) make no representations and expressly disclaim all warranties (to the extent permitted by law) about the accuracy, completeness, or currency of information on this website.  Users of this project website information should take independent action to confirm any information on this website before relying on its accuracy in any way.

Reliance on any information provided is entirely at your own risk.  NSW DPI and HIA Ltd are not responsible for, and will not be liable for, any loss, damage, claim, expense, cost (including legal costs) or other liability arising in any way (including from HIA Ltd or any other person’s negligence or otherwise) from your use or non-use of the information on this website or that NSW DPI and HIA Ltd provide to you by any other means.