High pressure treatments

 

The technology is addressed to the microbiological and/or enzymatic stabilization of foods by non-thermal treatments.

The peculiarity is the absence of heating that allows the preservation of aromas and thermolabile components. It applies to liquid, solid or solid-liquid foods, already packaged in flexible packaging. The products are pasteurized (not sterilized), do not require further treatment and are stored in refrigerated conditions.

 

 

Technological field

 

Process/plant for non-thermal stabilization of foods.

 

 

Principle of operation

 

The treatment is based on the effect of breaking the cell membrane of microorganisms as a result of high hydrostatic pressure (from 2000 to 7000 bar).

The same effect can produce the denaturation of enzymes or other proteins.

 

 

Technical sheet

 

The technology is already used for certain products in France and Japan.

ProdAl has know-how about the process (treatment of fruit juices, canned vegetables, milk and meat derivates) and plant design. Plants on laboratory and pilot scale have been realized and techniques of "combined cycles" of pressure/temperature have been analyzed. ProdAl has laboratories and expertise to test new products, to assess the quality and shelf life.

 

 

Technological benchmark vs state of the art

 

It is a "mature" technology and abroad plants of medium size are already used in some company, primarily for the treatment of fruit juices, sauces/dressings and meat products.

Prodal conducts experiments on new products or new production cycles on a pilot scale and optimizes the operating conditions for each product.

The use of this technology allows the achievement of high quality standards for certain products, as it is able to retain flavor, color, micro and macronutrients.

To date, the high pressure treatment is the only one able to guarantee solid foods of meat-based listeria-free (eg ham) with no alterations due to thermal or chemical effects. Remain to be explored areas such as plant ingredients for pastry, yogurt, ready condiments.

Compared to other non-thermal technologies, such as PEF, the high pressure allows the treatment of solid foods, in the face of the need to operate in batch or semi-continuous regime.

 

 

Strengths

  • Technique already partially tested for some products, commercially viable.
  • Ability to treat food in any physical state already packed.
  • Availability of facilities of different scale for rapid experimentation up to pilot scale.
  • Modest energy consumption for the limited compressibility of the liquid medium used to transmit the pressure.

 

Weaknesses

  • Technique limited to products of high added value due to the investment cost.
  • Need to operate in batch or semi-continuous way.

 

Stage of development of ProdAl

 

The completed phases are the study of the state of the art and  the experimental analysis of many products, plant species, under different conditions, as well as the construction and startup of various experimental facilities, from microreactors at controlled temperature on laboratory scale to pilot plant  for samples product above 1kg.

ProdAl has a know-how of high level related to the behavior under pressure of specific microorganisms and enzymes and the simultaneous application of pressure with other synergistic effects, for example with carbon dioxide, the electric fields (in the next figure is shown in orange the stage of development of ProdAl research in this technology).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Target

 

Canning sector (crop and animal). Plants for the food industry.

 

 

Forms of collaboration

  • Agreements for licensing of exploitation exclusive or in partnership.
  • Agreements for the prototyping and the market launch of products, with a view to partnership in the sale.
  • Consultations on the industrial exploitation of the technology with impact on research activities.
  • Royalties on specific products formulated in collaboration with manufacturers.

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