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High Voltage Engg. in Food Preservation


The threat of low socio economic status, poor sanitation and hygiene, inadequate preservative techniques aid in contamination and spurting of communicable disease micro-organism like bacteria and fungus. Electricity, an essential and a common commodity has stretched its tentacles also in the field of food technology and preservation. On application of electric field at various magnitude ranging from 15kV/cm to 80kV/cm and with time duration of 1.2 to 100 µ sec. the growth rate of micro-organisms are inhibited and this increase the shelf life of liquid foods like milk and fruit juices. Thus the use of high intensity pulsed electric fields (PEF) in food application has gained much popularity and is claimed to represent a most promising non –thermal alternative to conventional pasteurization methods.

Exposing microbial cells to pulsed electric fields causes build up of charges on the cell membrane and this results in dielectric breakdown of the membrane depending upon the dielectric field intensity ‘E’. The PEF technology in liquid food sterilization is a reliable and an emerging non-thermal technology. Complementing the conventional thermal preservations with less processing time, preserved nutrients attributes, more safe and fresh like processed foods with longer shelf life to be healthy. This will definitely improve the food safety chain for future generation.