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Non-Thermal Food Processing and Preservation
Non-thermal food processing refers to methods where the food materials receive microbiological inactivation without the direct application of heat. Such technologies, largely combined with hurdle technology to replace those conventional thermal food processing ones, are increasingly viewed as either emerging, novel, or new food processing methods. Such novel technologies have included pulsed electric fields (PEF), high-pressure processing (HPP), ozone treatment, pulsed light, non-thermal plasma/cold plasma (NTP), and ultrasound technology. The technologies can be grouped into two major groups: physical processes (pulse electric field, high-pressure processing, ultraviolet radiation, pulsed light, ultrasound, and ionizing radiation) and chemical processes (ozone treatment, and cold plasma).
The push for non-thermal food processing methods has emerged due to the challenges associated with thermal food processing methods, for instance, high operational costs and alteration of food nutrient components. Non-thermal food processing involves methods where the food materials receive microbiological inactivation without or with little direct application of heat. Besides being well established in scientific literature, research into non-thermal food processing technologies is constantly rising as applied to a wide range of food products. Due to such remarkable progress by scientists and researchers, there is a need for continuous synthesis of relevant scientific literature for the benefit of all actors in the agro-food value chain, most importantly the food processors, and to supplement existing information. This review, therefore, aimed to provide a technological update on some selected non-thermal food processing methods specifically focused on their operational mechanisms, their effectiveness in preserving various kinds of foods, as revealed by their pros (merits) and cons (demerits). Specifically, pulsed electric field, pulsed light, ultraviolet radiation, high-pressure processing, non-thermal (cold) plasma, ozone treatment, ionizing radiation, and ultrasound were considered. What defines these techniques, their ability to exhibit limited changes in the sensory attributes of food, retain the food nutrient contents, ensure food safety, extend shelf-life, and being eco-friendly were highlighted. Rationalizing the process mechanisms about these specific non-thermal technologies alongside consumer education can help raise awareness before any design considerations, improvement of cost-effectiveness, and scaling-up their capacity for industrial-level applications.
2. Food Processing
3. Final Considerations
4. Future Prospects
The entry is from 10.3390/foods10061430
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