Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Pressure rises on liquid foodstuffs

EU researchers have developed an improved sterilisation system for fruit juices and vegetable milks. Using ultra-high–pressure homogenisation (UHPH), the approach requires less energy and benefits from less contamination than high-temperature, short-time pasteurisation.
Pressure rises on liquid foodstuffs
UHPH is an emerging technology offering a potential alternative to conventional heat treatments for food sterilisation. When liquid food passes through the high-pressure valve, the result is very good stability and a reduction in the number of microorganisms.

Using UHPH technology to produce safe foods without losing nutritional value was one aim of the EU-funded FUNENTECH project. Other project objectives for using the technology included creating high-added–value natural cosmetics and developing delivery systems able to stabilise bioactive compounds.

Following on from two previous projects on the topic, FUNENTECH set out to explore different possibilities for UHPH applications. The focus of this project's work was on the development of UHPH-processed liquid food products and preparations destined for people with specific nutritional needs.

During FUNENTECH, research was carried out to ensure the safety of the process, improvement of functional properties and nutritional characteristics. Different studies were conducted by the project team on consumer acceptability of the developed processes and products treated using UHPH.

To optimise the UHPH machines, the FUNENTECH project also studied the effects of using different high-pressure valve geometries. In addition, the researchers redesigned the valves using new materials in order to enhance the system's control, robustness and wear.

Converting the UHPH technology into effective industrial processes will help to launch new products on the consumer market. Moreover, it could also lead to further applications in different research areas such as pharmaceutical and chemical technologies.

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