Consumer demand for fresh and naturally tasting products has changed the European fruit juice market. PEF treated fruit juice looks and tastes fresh and keep its nutritional value, while PEF effectively kills the spoilage organisms and pathogens present in fresh fruit juices. This increases food safety and shelf life. The treatment can prolong refrigerated shelf life of fresh fruit juices and related products from 7 days to 21 days. Since the treatment time and temperature are considerably lower than conventional pasteurization methods require, the juice quality remains excellent.
On top of that, the technology reduces the pressure and time, needed to press high quality juices. This saves energy, increases productivity, decreases by-products and also helps to retain the quality. In most cases PEF will also increase the juice extraction yield and reduce the energy costs.
In olive oil production, first the tissue of the olives has to be softened and grinded prior to a heat assisted kneading step called malaxation. The implementation of PEF allows the malaxation temperature and time to be decreased significantly. This reduces energy costs and production time, which improves the productivity. Furthermore, the extraction yield of olive oil can increase (by mass), being an enormous increase in practice. Olive oil which is extracted from PEF treated olive paste is of excellent quality, tastes very well and classifies as extra virgin.
For tomato products the benefits of PEF are twofold. The treatment will allow easier tomato peeling, because it enhances the peel permeability and faster steam penetration of the peel. Because of this, the use of steam for peeling can be lowered. Not only water and energy use are reduced, but as a result of better peeling the tomato waste will also be diminished.
Also, tomatoes are one of the most concentrated food sources of lycopene. Lycopene is a red pigment well known for its benefits for the immune system and its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour effects. After PEF treatment, the lycopene concentration in tomato juices and purees is increased.
Spoilage microorganisms in wine and cider lead to important economic losses in meaningful fermentation processes. When applied before alcoholic fermentation PEF inactivates the unwanted wild microbes. Usually sulphur dioxide is added to do the job, but sulphur dioxide affects the wine flavour and is associated with several health problems. PEF treatment can reduce or eliminate the need for sulphur dioxide. The electroporation of whole grapes also diminishes the maceration and fermentation time, and thus increases the productivity, allowing a better use of the wine tanks. The lower temperatures help to preserve a better quality.
Moreover PEF improves the extraction of valuable polyphenols, such as resveratrol, from the grapes. Polyphenols are essential to the quality of red wine, because they stabilize flavour, colour and aging. Besides resveratrol is beneficial for the health of people who moderately consume wine. The innovative technology also opens doors for new wine products.