Food preservation

Microbial inactivation in liquids

PEF in Gentle Food Preservation

PEF processing for mild preservation of beverages and liquid foods

Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) processing effectively inactivates microorganisms, serving as a non-thermal method for preserving food. This technique stands apart from thermal pasteurization as it maintains the integrity of crucial nutrients like vitamins and proteins, along with other valuable nutritional and functional components. The use of electroporation in food preservation ensures the production of high-quality, fresh-tasting liquid foods and beverages.

Targeted Impact of Electroporation

PEF treatment leaves vitamins, antioxidants, colorants, proteins, fatty acids and polysaccharids unaffected

Electroporation specifically targets cell membranes. It can inactivate various spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms, though it has a limited effect on enzymes, spores, and viruses. Crucially, it retains other constituents like vitamins, minerals, pigments, and flavors. Unlike heat treatment, the functionality and nutritional value of proteins remain largely unaffected.

Ideal for Heat-Sensitive Liquids

PEF is particularly beneficial for heat-sensitive liquid foods where thermal pasteurization isn’t suitable.

PEF Pasteurization

PEF treatment allows cold pasteurization of liquid foods, such as baby food

To achieve microbial inactivation, PEF requires higher treatment intensity compared to that needed for mere cell disintegration. This limits its use to pumpable products with a particle diameter under 20 mm. Generally, the shelf life of PEF-treated products is on par with thermally pasteurized foods, with both usually needing refrigerated storage. Beyond mild pasteurization, PEF can also be used for food sterilization in combination with higher temperatures to eliminate spores.

PEF Processing Lines for Fruit Juices

PEF treatment damages cell membranes and inactivates micro-organisms.

A typical processing line for the mild preservation of fruit juices includes a supply tank, a fluid pump, a pulse generator unit, and a cooler (if necessary), followed by a buffer tank. The Pulsemaster Conditioner exemplifies a complete system for this type of food decontamination. These processing lines can be maintained using Clean In Place (CIP) or Steam In Place (SIP) cleaning methods.