March/April 2019 - 22

Juice Tech
By Melanie Epp
Contributing Writer
that would allow you to get more juice
out of a batch of apples. Imagine that
same technology could extend shelf
life, improve food safety and preserve
taste, appearance and nutritional value.
Well, there is.
For its ability to improve food
safety and quality - as well as the
competitiveness of food companies -
Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) technology
is being hailed a revolution in food
processing. Produce Processing learned
more about the technology at the most
recent Anuga FoodTec trade show in
Cologne, Germany.
How PEF technology works
The revolutionary technology uses
short, high-voltage electrical pulses to
perforate cell membranes. The process
is called electroporation and it makes
cell membranes more permeable. Not
only does PEF enhance extraction of
intracellular compounds from plantbased
foods, but it also inactivates
microorganisms. Because it kills
microbes at lower temperatures than
conventional heating, it keeps vitamins,
antioxidants and pigments intact.
PEF also increases shelf life, a desirable
benefit in this waste-conscious era, and
is especially advantageous to processors
who work with heat sensitive foods.
Europe invests in PEF
Until now, high investment costs
have kept smaller processing companies
from benefiting from technology
like PEF. Knowing that it offered
significant benefit
to small-scale
processors, though, European Union
leaders decided to fund a project to
invest in the technology. The project,
called FieldFOOD, was funded by a
grant from the EU's Horizon 20/20
research and innovation program. It
was a partnership between several
entities, including the University of
Zaragoza, the European Federation of
Food Science and Technology (EFFoST),
Energy Pulse Systems and the Research
Centre for Energy Resources and
Consumption (CIRCE).
The three-year project began in April
2015 and is now complete. Its goal
was to develop flexible, low-cost PEF
technology for small-scale processors.
" The big companies are focused on
the big processing companies, " said
Linda Scholten, communications official
for EFFoST.
FieldFOOD PEF technology, however,
is low-cost, flexible and can be
integrated in any existing processing
line, she said.
" This makes it
so much more
interesting for small- and mediumsized
companies that wouldn't be able
to afford one of the other technologies, "
she said. " The reason why they decided
to invest in this technology is because
PEF actually works. "
Fruit juice processors may notice
PEF's ability to improve yield extraction,
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