Saturday, 04 July 2020

PEF technology to lift food processing in NZ

29 June 2018 | News

The electric field being pulsed through un-cut potatoes during processing alters their microstructure.

Image credit- foodscience.news

Image credit- foodscience.news

Researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand are demonstrating the potential of a new technology which could see New Zealand production of a popular food - the French fry - become healthier, and less costly and wasteful.

Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) processing equipment which uses brief pulses of electricity (microseconds) to modify and disrupt the membranes of cells in plant or animal material or microorganisms, has a wide variety of applications across many food processing industries.

The electric field being pulsed through un-cut potatoes during processing alters their microstructure, which results in a more controlled release of sugar, more uniform colouration and reduced oil uptake. It also enhances processing as the softer texture makes the potatoes easier to cut, meaning there is less waste, the ability to develop new shapes (e.g Lattice cut) and increased knife durability (up to 60 per cent).

The industry pilot programme is part of a Ministry for Business and Innovation funded Food Industry Enabling Technology (FIET) programme worth nearly NZ$ 16.8M, over a six year period (2015-2021).

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