Impact of temperature on lethality and energy efficiency of apple juice pasteurization by pulsed electric fields treatment

Author(s): Heinz V, Toepfl S, Knorr D


The applicability of pulsed electric fields as a non-thermal preservation process for liquid food decontamination has been shown in several studies. However, high costs of operation due to the occurrence of a high amount of dissipated electrical energy inhibited an industrial exploitation so far. In this study the focus was put on improving energy efficiency of this process for pasteurization of apple juice inoculated with Escherichia coli by investigating the relation between achieved reduction in survivor count and electric field strength and treatment temperature. An empirical mathematical model was derived to predict the required input of electrical energy for a given inactivation. Using synergistic effects of elevated treatment temperature of 35–65 °C on microbial inactivation the energy consumption could be reduced from above 100 to less than 40 kJ kg−1 for a reduction of 6 log cycles and the need to preheat the juice before treatment provided a possibility to recover the dissipated electrical energy after treatment, leading to a drastic reduction in operation costs. To evaluate the thermal load of the product the pasteurization unit (PU) and the cook value, key benchmarks for the thermal load, were used to compare PEF and conventional heat treatment.

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