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Updated June 23, 2009

 

 
 
HIGH PRESSURE PROCESSING

After a timorous start in the 90’s in Japan, the use of high pressure processing (HPP) has became an industrial reality in the Western countries, with an estimated 100,000 tons of food processed under HPP in 2004. A few examples of HP processed foods commercially available include fruit, salad dressings, yoghurts, juices, jam and rice-based products, guacamole, ham, ready-to-eat meat and other meat products . For these applications, this technology is primarily used as a powerful tool to assure product food safety while maintaining desirable texture, appearance and flavor, therefore addressing majors concerns of the consumers. By inactivating spoilage microorganisms, HPP significantly increases food shelf-life, which has subsequent economic advantages for the food industry, and also opens new possibilities for distant markets.

Furthermore, HPP has found some niche markets with shellfish such as oysters, lobsters and mussels. This technology presents the unique possibility of easily extracting meat from their shells without need of knife or thermal treatment.

A better understanding of both spoilage and pathogenic inactivation mechanisms and treatment-induced physicochemical changes of food components as well as the identification of actual limitation of HPP as the sole method of processing have greatly contributed to the growth of this non-thermal food process. To address some of HPP limitations, a combination of pressure with thermal treatment has appeared to be a successful means of obtaining high-pressure sterilized foods. Development of hurdle technology that combines HPP with the use of natural food additives, for example, also seems to be promising for the development of HPP. Several issues such as the susceptibility of various food products to HPP, principally due to protein denaturation at pressures below those required to reduce microbial contamination, or residual pressure resistance of undesirable food enzymes, still, however, need to be addressed.

DESCRIPTION AND PICTURES OF HPP EQUIPMENT AT IOWA STATE
FOOD-LAB 900 Plunger Press System (Stansted Fluid Power Ltd, Essex, UK)
Drawing of HPP System
Pictures: HPP Equipment

USEFUL LINKS RELATED TO HPP
High Pressure Processing references:
http://www.hpp.vt.edu/biblioa-c.html

Companies selling HPP equipment:
Avure Technologies
NC Hyperbaric
Engineered Pressure Systems Inc.
Stansted Fluid Power

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Interested in determining the potential of HPP on your food product? Contact Stephanie Jung at:

1436 Food Sciences Building
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa 50011-1061

Phone: (515) 294-2544
Fax: (515) 294-8181
e-mail: jung@iastate.edu