Civil and Environmental Engineering



Bruce I. Dvorak

First Advisor

Bruce Dvorak

Second Advisor

Jeyamkondan Subbiah

Date of this Version



Ziara, Rami MM, Shaobin Li, Bruce I. Dvorak, and Jeyamkondan Subbiah. "Water and energy use of antimicrobial interventions in a mid-size beef packing plant." Applied engineering in agriculture 32, no. 6 (2016): 873-879. doi: 10.13031/aea.32.11615


© 2016 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Used by permission.


Data regarding the water and energy usage of current antimicrobial interventions in beef packing plants is scarce. The objective of this study was to collect representative water and energy usage data in a beef packing plant, with emphasis on antimicrobial interventions, to provide baseline data for comparison of new intervention technologies developed by researchers. Permanent and portable water flow meters were installed on the plant’s plumbing system to collect water flow data from March 2014 to March 2015. A local utility company was hired to meter electricity at the different subsystems using portable data loggers. The natural gas used in each subsystem was estimated by the amount of steam required to heat the water to the desired temperature and assuming the boiler efficiency as 82%, as estimated by the plant personnel. All data was normalized per 1000 kg live body weight (1000 kg LBW). The overall plant-wide water usage was 2968 L/1000 kg LBW (355 gal/1000 lb LBW). The antimicrobial interventions used 15.7% of the total water usage while viscera and byproducts processing, and overnight cleaning water accounted for 19% and 39% of the total water usage, respectively. The water usage was 100, 16, 253, and 97 L/1000 kg LBW for the pre-evisceration wash, organic acid spraying, carcass wash, and thermal pasteurization, respectively. The total metered electrical energy was 110.5 MJ/1000 kg LBW, over 96% of which was used by the plant’s cooling and hydraulic systems. The overall plant-wide natural gas usage was 512.6 MJ/1000 kg LBW, 11.6% of which was used by antimicrobial interventions for water heating. The viscera and byproducts processing, overnight cleaning, and other usage and losses, accounted for 11.7%, 36.1%, and 40.6% of the total natural gas, respectively.