Non-thermal processing in food applications: A review
Awsi Jan, Monika Sood, SA Sofi, Tsering Norzom
The food-processing industry has made large investments in processing facilities relying mostly on conventional thermal processing technologies with well-established reliability and efficacy Food contains many heat sensitive nutrients which include vitamins, minerals, and nutrients having functional properties such as pigments, antioxidant, Bioactive compounds. Many processes during manufacturing of food cause detrimental effects on these nutrients. Retention of these nutrients in food products requires innovative approaches for process design because of their sensitivity to a variety of physical and chemical factors, which causes either loss of biological functionality, chemical degradation and premature or incomplete release. Alternative methods for thermal processing of food are gaining importance, due to increased consumer demand for new methods of food processing that have a reduced impact on nutritional content and overall food quality. Also as a result of the increasing consumer demand for minimally-processed fresh-like food products with high sensory and nutritional qualities, there is a growing interest in non-thermal processes for food processing and preservation. Non-thermal food processing/preservation methods interest food and food packaging scientists, manufacturers and consumers because they exert a minimal impact on the nutritional and sensory properties of foods, and extend shelf life by inhibiting or killing microorganisms. They are also considered to be more energy efﬁcient and to preserve better quality attributes than conventional thermally based processes. Non-thermal physical processes are evolving as potential alternatives to thermal and chemical unit operations in food processing. Non-thermal methods allow the processing of foods below temperatures used during thermal pasteurisation, so ﬂavours, essential nutrients, and vitamins undergo minimal or no changes. These processes also meet industry needs by offering value- added products, new market opportunities and added safety margins.