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The principle aim of the proposed research is to develop the use of high pressure (HP) as a food processing technique.

High pressure processing involves the treatment of foods in the pressure range 100 to 900 MPa. It can be used alone or in combination with other processes. The treatment inactivates many micro-organisms and enzymes. This project will investigate parameters for high pressure processing to ensure food safety and extend self-life without compromising the quality of selected liquid foods and derived products.

The project falls into three subject areas which are milk and dairy products; fruit and vegetable juice production; and high pressure equipment development for the processing of liquid foods.

In the milk and dairy products area the objectives aim to :

- assess the effects of HP on the structure, composition, conformation and
denaturation of dairy proteins;
- examine the modification of the functional properties of dairy proteins due to HP
- develop an enzymatic modification of milk protein structure during HP treatments
to improve nutritional quality;
- assess the stability and nutritional quality of dairy products and ingredients after
HP treatment; Investigate the effect of HP treatment at key process points
during the manufacture of cheese and fermented milk products;
- and to investigate the effect of HP treatment on cheese ripening.

Fruit and vegetable juice production will examine the minimal processing parameters required for high quality fresh products in which the nutritional status, health protective compounds, and the natural taste and colour are preserved, but which also have a reasonable refrigeration shelf-life. The effects of HP on destabilising enzymes such as pectin metlyesterase will be investigated. Using HP treated juice as a model product, a survey of consumer attitudes, knowledge and prejudices concerning HP processing will be carried out in 3 EU member states.

The design of HP equipment specifically for the processing of bulk liquid foods in a semi-continuous process is central to this project. This will require production of special valves for product lines able to handle particulate suspensions. Integration of aseptic packaging into the process is a necessary objective. Other aspects such as throughput rate, maximum pressure and easy of cleaning will be investigated and improved.

Call for proposal

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BBSRC Institute of Food Research
EU contribution
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Reading Laboratory Earley Gate Whiteknights Road
RG6 2EF Reading
United Kingdom

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Participants (2)