Device uses plasma to create ozone inside sealed packaging

A university spinout in the UK has developed a sterilisation device that uses plasma to create ozone inside sealed packaging.

The company, Anacail, has been set-up by researchers from the University of Glasgow with £750,000 of seed funding from investors.

The device is held against the side of the packaging briefly and an electrical field induces formation of ozone from oxygen molecules. The ozone persists long enough to kill microbes inside the packaging, but not so long as to present a danger to any buyers – the excess ozone reverts to oxygen within a few hours.

Ozone is highly oxidising, and its ability to kill microbes well known. It is used as a sterilising agent in industrial settings. But it is unstable and toxic, making it difficult to handle.

Anacail is planning to test the device on product lines at several UK food processing plants in the next 12 months.