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  • 1 Radiation Technology Department, Atomic Energy Commission of Syria P.O. Box 6091, Damascus. Syria
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Ground roots of licorice with 3 particle sizes (fine particles <0.35 mm, medium: 0.35-8.0 mm, and coarse particles ?8.0 mm diameter) were exposed to 5, 10, 15 and 20 kGy of gamma radiation from a 60Co source. Microbial population of ground roots and the characteristics of their extracts (concentrations of glycyrrhizinic acid, total and inorganic dissolved solids), mineral ions (Ca++ and K+), pH and EC values were evaluated after irradiation. The results showed thatmicrobial count of fine particles of ground licorice roots were 106 g-1, that of coarse ones 105 g-1. The extract produced from coarse particles of ground roots had lower total and inorganic dissolved solids, mineral ions (Ca++ and K+), pH and EC values compared with those produced from fine particular ones. All sizes of licorice roots treated with gamma irradiation had significantly (P<0.05) lower microorganism counts than untreated (control) ones. The dose needed to reduce the microbial load to less than 10 bacteria per gram was 15 kGy for the fine particle and 10 kGy for the coarse ground root. Gamma irradiation decreased glycyrrhizinic acid concentrations in the extracts produced from coarse particle licorice roots.

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