Chapter 17: Food Structure Development/Production Through Flexible Processes: The Use of Electric Fields to Enable Food Manufacturing
Published:17 Oct 2019
R. N. Pereira, A. A. Vicente, and J. A. Teixeira, in Handbook of Food Structure Development, ed. F. Spyropoulos, A. Lazidis, and I. Norton, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2019, ch. 17, pp. 422-438.
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Technologies based on application of electrics fields are establishing a solid foothold in the food industry and bringing innovative applications in several food biotechnological processes. It is crucial to assess and understand the interaction of electrical variables within main food components and expected impacts on the physicochemical properties and microbiological composition of food. During the last two decades, electric-based technologies have rapidly progressed, and investigators have refined their research, contributing to a growing body of knowledge about the potential advantages as well as drawbacks of these technologies. Different ways of applying electric fields (e.g. pulsed or continuous) to a given food material are now possible, and each can combine a wide range of operational conditions (i.e. treatment time, temperature, electric fields intensity, frequency, pulse with and type of waveform, among others). Pulsed electric fields (PEF) and ohmic heating are probably the most promising, flexible, and cost-effective of those, which explains the large number of original scientific research and literature revisions on the respective areas. PEF is today recognized by its enormous potential to structurally affect cell membranes of living cells and vegetable/plant tissues through electroporation effects. Ohmic heating brings new opportunities of a more controlled thermal food processing but also shows potential to influence important food macronutrients, such as proteins, by impacting their biological and structural properties as well.