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Information @ a Glance

General
  • High Pressure Processing (HPP) is a method of food processing where food is subjected to elevated pressures (up to 87,000 pounds per square inch or approximately 6,000 atmospheres), with or without the addition of heat, to achieve microbial inactivation or to alter the food attributes in order to achieve consumer-desired qualities. Pressure inactivates most vegetative bacteria at pressures above 60,000 pounds per square inch. HPP retains food quality, maintains natural freshness, and extends microbiological shelf life. The process is also known as high hydrostatic pressure processing (HHP) and ultra high-pressure processing (UHP).

  • High pressure processing is a non thermal processing. High Pressure is believed to preserve foods by inactivating vegetative cells. High pressure alone does not appear to kill significant populations of spores, but it does appear to induce germination. Spores appear to be inactivated by combinations of both pressure and heat.

Processing

  • In a typical HPP process, the product is packaged in a flexible container (usually a pouch or plastic bottle) and is loaded into a high pressure chamber filled with a pressure-transmitting (hydraulic) fluid. The hydraulic fluid (normally water) in the chamber is pressurized with a pump, and this pressure is transmitted through the package into the food itself. Pressure is applied for a specific time, usually 3 to 5 minutes. The processed product is then removed and stored/distributed in the conventional manner. Because the pressure is transmitted uniformly (in all directions simultaneously), food retains its shape, even at extreme pressures. And because no heat is needed, the sensory characteristics of the  food are retained without compromising microbial safety.

Technology

  • High-pressure food processing, using pressures between 1 and 10 kbar, permits preservation of aroma and vitamins, improvement of textural and sensory properties, and removal of harmful bacteria. The process must be carefully monitored, however, as localized variations in pressure or temperature can significantly influence the removal of bacteria. The process must therefore be uniform, especially in the health-sensitive field of microbial inactivation.

  • CCAR is a niche technology for providing 70F to 150F ultra-cold temperatures cost effectively and without harmful environmental emissions to the food processing, volatile organic compound recovery, and liquid natural gas industries.

Applications

  • HPP can be used to produce new surimi products. In surimi processing, the sarcoplasmic proteins are removed by thorough washing since they do not form gels when heated.

  • High pressure thawing is effective in foods having a high water content. This is because the melting temperature of water is depressed under pressure from 0 C at atmospheric pressure down to -22 C at 220 MPa. A pressure of 220 MPa is the maximum of interest in thawing from the heat transfer process.

  • High-pressure processing is useful not only for producing high quality food, but also for improving the manufacturing process. The production time for rice crackers is shortened by introducing a high-pressure technique into the traditional processing system and the total energy cost is decreased by 10% and the labor force by 56%.

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