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How new processing techniques have great potential to create food more sustainable

Global food waste figures are well publicised: around one-third of most food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. If food waste were a country, it might be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases behind China and the united states.

A proven way food waste could be reduced, particularly in developed countries, is by limiting the quantity of food that’s thrown away in the house.

In Norway where a lot more than 450,000 a great deal of food is disposed of each year, often since it has passed its expiry date new research is investigating how new processing techniques can extend shelf-life and reduce food waste.

We realize that we now have major differences between recycleables and products with regards to environmental emissions. Even though vegetables & fruits produce low degrees of emissions, these food types have a brief shelf-life,said researcher Tone Mari Rode from the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima).

Therefore, it really is important to provide them with an extended shelf-life and steer clear of having them result in the rubbish.

A team at the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima), beneath the four-year iNOBox research study, are investigating six innovating processing techniques: ruthless, microwaves, pulsed electric fields, ultrasound, UV light, and plasma-activated water.

Research and industry partners including Campden BRI, University of Liverpool, Norwegian Institute for Sustainability Research (Norsus), Findus, and Fjordland, and the like.

Getting a alternative to autoclave treatment

It’s quite common for food manufacturers to take care of foods using heat within an autoclave a kind of pressure cooker where microorganisms in the meals are inactivated to make sure food safety and extend shelf-life.

However, based on the iNOBox research team, several challenges exist in employing this technology. Heat had a need to kill bacteria make a difference food quality, and the procedure is frequently resource-intensive with regards to time, water and energy.

A number of the processing techniques being tested by iNOBox can replace autoclave technology, and by doing this, save well on time and cost whilst having less of a direct effect on the surroundings.

e coli EzumeImages

Autoclave treatment ensures food safety (against bacteria such as for example E Coli) and extends shelf-life. GettyImages/EzumeImages

The faster and gentler the meals is processed, the higher the type quality is preserved both with regards to taste, colour and nutritional content, the researchers explained.

Extending egg shelf life with ruthless technology

Ruthless processing can be an attractive technique, as when food is subjected to extreme pressures as high as 6000 bar its shelf-life could be at the very least tripled in comparison to a brand new product.

The technique has already been found in juice production, ensuring a shelf-life of at the very least two-to-three months with regards to the variety. Ruthless processing occurs at room temperature or in chilled conditions, which both preserves the nutritional content and helps preserve taste.

The Nofima team has investigated employing ruthless processing on eggs to increase shelf-life, because while whole eggs have an extended shelf-life, exactly the same can’t be said for eggs once cracked or when an egg mass is manufactured.

Regarding egg mass, manufacturers often add preservatives or give it a mild heat therapy to increase shelf-life just a little longer. Exposing egg mass to ruthless instead, also extends shelf-life, the researchers found. Other functional benefits also exist.

Once the high-pressure treated egg mass was beaten, foaming increased and the foam retained its volume for a long period without collapsing, noted the researchers. The mixture also gained increased emulsification capacity, which may be positive in various forms of food processing and cooking.

Microwaved chicken, anyone?

Another processing technique under investigation by researchers is microwaves. Microwave ovens, they note, are familiar to household kitchens, but arent so trusted in the meals industry.

An integral benefit of using microwaves rather than autoclaves is that heat load on food is significantly reduced in comparison to traditional autoclaving.

One trial conducted by researchers involved chicken, that was fried and packaged in two various ways: vacuum and modified atmosphere. Some samples were further processed using ruthless or microwaves. These were then stored at 4C.

The vacuum-packed chicken had a shelf life of a month, as the high-pressure samples kept for over 90 days. The microwave samples also showed great potential, noted the researchers.

microwave EasyBuy4u

Microwave ovens are familiar to household kitchens, but aren’t so trusted in the meals industry. GettyImages/EasyBuy4u

Electric fields technology is another processing technique under investigation by Nofima and iNOBox partners. The technique describes the exposure of food to electric fields in a nutshell pulses of different intensity. What goes on then is that pores form in the cell membrane of the meals product. This results in several benefits, including making vegetables more flexible or simpler to peel, and giving higher yields during extraction, the researchers explained.

The technique may also kill bacteria in products such as for example juice, while also preserving the taste and nutrients.

In Spain, researchers at the University of Zaragoza employed the technology on shortages, which led to a much shorter’ drying time in comparison to sausages stated in the most common way. Energy consumption was also reduced by 50%.

UV light on meat, ultrasound on dairy

UV light has already been used by the meals industry to kill bacteria on a products surface. However, the technology continues to be in development for use on packaged products, because different packaging surfaces make a difference how effectively UV light penetrates. If the top isn’t smooth, for instance, bacteria can hide in folds and cavities.

In the united kingdom, scientists at the Campden BRI institute have investigated UV light treatment on three various kinds of packaged meat: chicken, pork and beef. The procedure didn’t affect colour or rancidity, and the shelf-life was exactly like in unprocessed meat products.

Nevertheless, the scientists note that the technology could have potential in the fight pathogenic bacteria.

yogurt Rossella De Berti

Ultrasound treatment could be put on yoghurt, alongside other treatments, to displace traditional homogenisation and heat therapy. GettyImages/Rossella De Berti

When ultrasound treatment is put on a food ahead of other processing, it could speed up the next processes, and decrease the level of energy required. In yoghurt production, the scientists discovered that the mix of CO2, ruthless treatment and ultrasound may be used to replace traditional homogenisation and heat therapy.

A variety of these technologies includes a positive influence on inactivating microorganisms and enzymes, the rate of fermentation, and the water-holding capacity of yoghurt.

Novel technology to increase shelf life of fruit and vegetables

The researchers may also be investigating brand-new technology to the meals sector. Still in the development stage, plasma-activated water takes electricity, oxygen and nitrogen compounds within the air, adds them to water that is then used to rinse fruit and veggies.

If the water is plasma-activated, bacteria will undoubtedly be inactivated and the shelf-life of the produce extended.

Interestingly, not absolutely all water from all countries would work because of this technique, because of water quality and pH values. In Norway, the water is quite perfect for plasma activation, as is water from England. In Palestine, however, plasma activation had no influence on E.coli bacteria. This demonstrates you should have control on the water quality when performing such treatment.

Another plasma-activated water trial saw baby spinach leaves rinsed and in comparison to baby spinach that is untreated or rinsed with ordinary water. After eight days of storage, the spinach rinsed using plasma-activated water so no upsurge in the amount of bacteria.

The scientists figured the technology has potential, but more R&D is necessary before it could be relevant to the meals industry.

The extensive studies we’ve conducted in this project show that new technologies have great potential to donate to more sustainable food production,said Nofimas Rode.

Plenty of development and documentation remains, but there are various possibilities that lie in these technologies

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