Freshly harvested grains contain loads of thousand to million bacteria and mold spore per gram and the microbial contribution of cereal grains and flours to convenience foods is an important consideration from public health aspects and as a source of possible spoilage agents. Although the microbial load of cereal grains, meals, and flours may not constitute a spoilage problem by itself, the numbers and types of microorganisms in such products is of concern since these products are used in the formation of many other foods. Radiation processing technology can be used for disinfestation of food grains and certain pre-packed cereal products like atta ( flour ), suji (semolina) and premixes. The present study was conducted to establish radiation processing protocols to improve the shelf life with optimum retention of quality of selected grains namely ragi and barley. Grain samples were taken in triplicates in a polythene bag(100 gauge) of 500gms each , heat sealed and subject to radiation doses 0.25,0.50,0.75 and 1.00kGy using Gamma chamber and stored for a period of one year. Grains were assessed for Moisture, Total Bacterial Count (TBC) and Total Mould Count (TMC),Diastase activity and for organoleptic attributes. The results showed that moisture, TBC and TMC and Diastase activity (DA) increased significantly with increase in the radiation dose used. Millets being very susceptible to infestation can be radiation processed at 0.50 kGy and was found to be better than fumigation in preserving the grain with no adverse effects on nutritional and organoleptic quality and to reduce the post harvest loss.
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