Wan is an assistant professor of animal and dairy science at UW–Platteville. Her primary research interest is in the application of non-thermal technologies for enhanced food safety and quality to achieve sustainable manufacturing goals. In addition, her research focuses on the utilization of food by-products and wastes for production of value-added ingredients. Wan’s position is funded by the Dairy Innovation Hub.
Dairy products are susceptible to microbial contamination and spoilage. Equipment surfaces of manufacturing machinery in the dairy processing line are the main source of biological contamination of processed milk. Contamination leads to reduced quality, shelf-life, and safety of dairy products, so proper cleaning and sanitation is critical. Clean-in-place (CIP) is an automated method to clean equipment without major disassembly and uses chlorine-based sanitizers and acidic or alkaline detergents as cleaning agents. However, post-cleaning liquid waste contains residual sanitizers and disinfection by-products (DBPs) which are potentially hazardous to human health and the environment. This project focuses on utilizing plasma activated water (PAW), which is generated by discharging the novel non-thermal technology cold plasma to water, as an alternative to traditional CIP cleaning agents and determining its effectiveness. PAW has antimicrobial properties, can inactivate biofilms, and has no carcinogenic by-products.