Continuous high-pressure processing of liquid beverages, sauces and emulsions
Ultra-shear technology (UST) or high pressure homogenization is a continuous high pressure processing technology wherein a pressurized fluid is allowed to exit confinement by passage through a shear valve; the fluid’s compression energy expended as thermal energy and also in modifying structure and properties of the liquid food. This enable the nonthermal and thermal destruction of pathogens, spoilage organisms and bacterial spores, while preserving nutritional attributes of fluid foods by minimizing heat effects while maximizing particle size reduction.
UST technology has exciting potential uses in nano-emulsion formation, molecular structural modification (for example pressure induced protein structure modification), viscosity enhancement and sensory formulates. By reducing thermal exposure through combined application of elevated pressure, shear, and controlled time /temperatures. This technology can be help to preserve variety of healthy liquid beverages, sauces, emulsions, juices with reduced thermal impact and serve as delivery vehicle for health promoting compounds. The technology is expected to help address consumer demand for healthier beverage options.
We have assembled a multi-disciplinary team of scientists and engineers from academia, food processors, and an equipment vendor to conduct fundamental and applied process engineering research on ultra-shear technology that will facilitate industrial adaptation of UST.
We are currently investigating the influence of various UST process parameters including pressures, temperatures, dwell times, and shear intensity on inactivation of various microorganisms suspended in food matrices. Experiments are also in progress to evaluate impact of UST parameters on liquid beverages quality attributes. Experiments are carried out using a custom-built laboratory scale equipment. In addition, pilot scale equipment is used for the evaluation of food quality, nutritional and sensorial benefits of liquid foods under industrially relevant conditions.