content tagged as Food Processing

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Recently the application of cold plasma has attracted significant interest as an emerging low-temperature process for the inactivation of microorganisms in the food and medical industries. Cold plasma is defined as when a partially ionized gas containing different components like free electrons, photons, radicals, and excited as well as metastable atoms or molecules, whereby the different generated components and their synergistic combination are responsible for the inactivation of microorganisms. Cold plasma can be generated using different sources and process gases which influence the composition of the generated plasma. Due to different ways of generating and applying (direct or indirect methods) cold plasma on a surface, the mechanisms leading to the microbial inactivation can be completely different. Furthermore, the surface the microorganisms are attached to can also influences the inactivation process. Spores of the class Bacilli or Clostridia are extremely resistant towards multiple environmental stress conditions, heat, radiation, and various toxic chemicals. Consequently, bacterial spores are perfectly adapted to survive on surfaces like food products and medical devices, thus being major vector of food spoilage, foodborne illness, and serious human diseases.

The proposed symposium will focus on the different mechanisms involved of microorganism’s inactivation by cold plasma, especially on the inactivation of Bacillus spores. US and international speakers will share their knowledge and research advancements. Speakers will discuss the effect of different surfaces concerning the inactivation of spores during cold plasma treatment as well as the role of the different generated plasma components depending on the gas used on the inactivation process. Spores’ properties responsible for the resistance to cold plasma will be pointed out. Changes in spore properties and the germination behavior following cold plasma treatment will be considered using single-spore methods. With respect to potential cold plasma applications in future, the regulatory status of cold plasma technology in the US food industry will be discussed.
The symposium will identify, describe, and discuss the latest advances in microwave equipment design and the development of new and emerging applications for this versatile technology.

The processing aim of microwave technologies has generally been for replacing conventional thermal processing applications such as pasteurization, sterilization, and drying of food and non-food items. In food applications the main focus is on maintaining inherent product quality by the volumetric heating and reduction of treatment time. However, the inherent problem of uneven heating has remained a major hurdle that limited the industrial uptake of this technology. Recent research and development in microwave equipment and process design has demonstrated the possibility of circumventing the problems commonly associated with microwave processing, leading to more cost-effective and efficient use of the technology for heating intact fruit and vegetables for insect disinfestation, pasteurization of fruit snacks, and heat treatment of pumpable products.

Microwave design, process performance, optimization, and scale-up of the MW technology will be discussed by internationally renowned experts from research organizations and academia. The symposium is being organized by Dr. Kai Knoerzer (CSIRO), Dr. Mala Gamage (CSIRO), and Emeritus Professor N Y Tran (consultant).
If a new technology is introduced, the proponents will claim to revolutionize the food production and/or to provide more nutritious food. Whereas critics may raise concerns that the technology poses great risks to human health and the environment. However, the industry races ahead bringing applications to market and government agencies have difficulty regulating this novel technology or ingredient. This sounds familiar, but the new technology is not genetic engineering, but nanotechnology, a new food ingredient or product claim. In relation to nanotechnology many concerns have been identified that also characterize public concerns about GM (genetically modified) food including a lack of transparency. This lack of transparency is also often criticized by consumers and especially by consumer advice centers when it comes to clean product labelling. Moreover, based on current surveys only 34% of consumers agree that food companies are transparent about how food is produced, what kind of ingredients are used, and how this is communicated on the package. This session is hence designed to address the aforementioned issues, to present potential solutions, and also to inform the industry and consumer about related and recent regulation in these areas.

The symposium includes the following focus topics: (i) nanomaterials in the food sector; (ii) the challenge of positioning a naturally derived ingredient in today’s regulatory landscape; and (iii) integrated food production as tool for consumer transparency.

The symposium is being organized and moderated by Myriam Loeffler (Chair International Division; University of Hohenheim; Stuttgart, Germany) and Dr. Kai Reineke (Member at Large International Division; GNT, Germany)