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Pulsemaster PEF olive oil

Thomas Rohe

PEF and extraction efficiency of cold pressed olive oil

A Pulsemaster PEF-system for olive oil processing

Pulsemaster have succesfully developed a dedicated Pulsed Electric Field system for olive oil processing, max 10 US tons/h (9,000 kg/h) loading rate. Pulsemaster’s PEF is a physical, non-thermal and low-energy processing method that may complement the crushing step of the olives by formation of pores in cell membranes. Objective is permeabilisation of cell membranes leading to cell disruption. Cell disruption in terms of applied electric field intensity and pulse number, which can be exploited to increase yield and quality (aroma’s) from day 0 to the end of storage.

Maximizing the extraction yield and improve aroma concentration

In olive oil processing, Pulsed Electric Field technology can be used to enhance cold pressed olive oil extraction at lower temperatures, to obtain a higher yield and more aroma’s. Even important, PEF processing can reduce processing time in olive oil plants.

Current process

The most common systems for mechanical extraction of olive oil comprise of olive reception in bulk, cleaning/washing, a crusher, a malaxer and a decanter where the oil is separated through centrifugation. While crusher and decanter operates continuously, the malaxer that is located between these two continuous steps work in batches and this is the bottleneck of the processing plants. One of the most important industrial handicaps of virgin olive oil (VOO) and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) production is the low efficiency of current extraction techniques. Typically only 80% of the oil present in the olives is easily released.


Malaxation of the olive paste to induce the oil drops coalescence has a big influence on the extraction yield but also on the quality and composition of the final product. Therefore, maximizing the extraction yield without modifying the phenolic content and sensory properties of olive oil, requires optimization of the main operating conditions of malaxation.

Increase of extraction efficiency

With Pulsemaster PEF a +4% up to +10% increase of extraction efficiency of cold pressed olive oil, rich in valuable compounds. A Pulsemaster PEF treatment chamber can be installed post crushing the olives, to obtain an effective PEF-treatment of the olive paste prior to malaxation. Disruption of the cell envelopes of the olive paste that act as a physical barrier is required to facilitate the oil release during malaxation. Although the crushing step is a very effective process, in the current extraction process typically a 20% large percentage of the oil remains inside olive paste cells. PEF is a physical, non-thermal processing method that may complement the crushing step by the formation of pores in cell membranes that were not disrupted by the crusher.

We welcome contact from commercial olive oil processing companies, interested in exploring the benefits of Pulsemaster PEF-technology to enhance cold press olive oil processing.

More information:
PEF products: vegetable oils

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