Effect of PEF on Enzyme Activity

Product examples: Foods and beverages containing enzymes.

Aim of PEF Treatment: Microbial inactivation.

Effect on Enzymes

The impact of PEF processing on enzyme activity is limited and dependent on the specific enzyme. Enzymes exhibit greater resistance to PEF compared to microorganisms. Post-PEF treatment, foods and beverages must be refrigerated due to residual enzyme activity. If enzyme inactivation is the goal, a combination of mild pasteurization or sterilization with PEF treatment is feasible. This approach allows for the use of lower temperatures compared to traditional thermal pasteurization, followed by a rapid PEF treatment in under a second.

Pectin Methylesterase

Pectin methylesterase (PME) catalyzes the de-esterification of pectin molecules. De-esterified pectin can form calcium bridges, leading to cloud loss and phase transition in juices, as well as tissue hardening in potatoes. This hardening is dependent on the presence of calcium and varies with temperature and time. PME is most active at temperatures between 50 to 70°C, with significantly lower activity at room temperature (20°C). It becomes inactivated above 75-80°C. PEF treatment releases PME from cells, but its activity level remains dependent on temperature and time.

Controlled Enzyme Inactivation

PEF technology can be used for targeted and controlled enzyme inactivation. There is growing interest in this application and the mechanisms of inactivation. Enzymes, being proteins, do not multiply in food and beverages like microorganisms do. Therefore, the level of inactivation required for enzymes is lower than that for microorganisms. We invite contact from companies and research institutes interested in exploring specific applications of PEF technology to modify enzyme structure for optimal food and beverage preservation.

More information

PEF Pulsemaster FAQ

PEF + Enzymes?