2013 Processing and Engineering Highlights J . Peter Clark | June 2013, Volume 67, No.6

Processing Preview

Pin Mill model CIM-34-SS allows for coarse to fine grinding of friable powders, flakes, and granules.

The 2013 Annual Meeting Scientific Program of symposia in areas of interest to me and readers of this column is daunting in size and scope and probably  impossible to cover as well as it deserves. Here, however, are brief descriptions  digested from the program abstracts of some of the more intriguing sessions scheduled to take place this summer in Chicago.

Novel Processing
On Monday, July 15, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, the focus will be on identifying, describing, and discussing the latest advances in novel nonthermal and  chemical-free (green) processing technologies for extraction, separation, and  transformation of food components in session 117 titled “Applications of Novel  Nonthermal Processing Technologies for the Extraction, Modification and Separation of Food Components.”

A few emerging nonthermal technologies have been recently investigated and  demonstrated to deliver alternatives for conventional extraction, modification, and separation of food components. These include ultrasound low frequency (<100 kHz) extraction and structure modification and high frequency (>100 kHz) particle separation, electrodialytic separations combined with ultrafiltration, pulsed electric field extraction and product pretreatment, and shock waves for extraction and product modification.

In session 016 “Applications of Nanotechnology Advances in Food Engineering  and Processing,” from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Sunday, July 14, the focus will be on nanotechnology-inspired innovations in food processing and controlled delivery systems.

Electro-heating encompasses a family of technologies that can be used for rapid, efficient heating of a variety of food products. Electroheating spans a wide range of frequencies, from 0 Hz (direct current or ohmic heating) to several Mega-Hertz (microwave heating). The product’s reaction to an applied electric field is dictated by its electric and dielectric properties. The topic in session 181 on  Monday, July 15, from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. will be “Electroheating in Food  Engineering: A Spectrum of Possibilities.”

To introduce the latest biochemical advance of fermentation and development of food enzymology, session 237 will be led by four experts who will give presentations emphasizing food enzymes in terms of the gene expression and fermentation techniques for production of glucosidase, fructotransferase, galactosidase, and aminopeptidase, and their molecular characterization, as well as their potential commercial applications. This session will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 16. It is titled “Challenges and Opportunities for Food Enzymes: Fermentation, Gene Expression, Characterization, and Application.”

Currently there is no commercial food production line using pulsed electric field (PEF) technology. There must be some obstacles that block this technology  moving from labscale to full production. The speakers in session 101 will  discuss the obstacles, challenges, and possible solutions regarding PEF  equipment cost, production cost, research scale-up and process validation, and  other concerns. The symposium, which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to  10 a.m. Monday, July 15, is titled  “Commercialization of Pulsed Electric Field Technology in Food Industry: Obstacles from Lab to Full Production.”

Berries are unique fruit crops with distinguished flavor, color, and taste, and are high in many different bioactive compounds. With the benefit of nonthermal processing technologies, ultra-high temperature pasteurization, aseptic packaging   techniques, and other innovative processing technologies, berry fruit can be processed with ensured food safety and stored for extended periods with very little deterioration in the nutritional and sensory qualities, a topic that will be discussed in session 102 titled “Latest  Development and Innovation in Berry  Juice and Puree Processing.” Specialty berry crops as well as challenges associated with retaining bioactive compounds during processing and storage will also be considered in the session from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday, July 15.

It is the goal of session 242 “Advances in Confectionery Technology,” which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 16, to demonstrate the latest technological developments in this area. The focus will be placed on technological developments (process-structure relationships, resource efficiency), ingredients (preferments), and statements on storage stability (color).

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada approvals of ultraviolet (UV) light as an alternative to thermal treatments of juice products and recent engineering developments have led to the growing interest in  research and commercialization of UV technology. Despite the challenge of low UV penetration, a few techniques have been developed for processing fluids to  control microbial safety. UV photopurification technology employs a turbulent flow when fluid is pumped through a series of “turbulators.” These  topics will be addressed in session 281 “Ultraviolet Technology Achieves Better Safety and Quality of Foods through Sustainable Production,” from 1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, July 16.

Sustainability
“Research Needs for a Sustainable Food System” will be the topic from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday, July 15, in session 111. The overall goal of this  symposium is to provide a forum for discussion of life cycle assessment and applications to the food system.

“Innovative Biorefinery Concepts to Boost the Bioeconomy” will be considered from 10 a.m. to noon Monday, July 15, in session 115. Biorefinery concepts include all of the main principles of thermal, mechanical, chemical, and biotechnological engineering. A huge number of food companies are already using some simple biogas refineries, for example. However, this is just the beginning of  many engineering-based solutions. Different conversion and separation techniques used for food side streams or food waste will be presented.

Session 183 “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: A Sustainable Packaging Approach” will give an update on new trends and advances in sustainable food packaging solutions. The session will take place from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, July 15.

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