The persistence of microbiological activity in food liquids is one of the critical aspects of the production processes, given the considerable risk of development not only of metabolites with negative impact on the organoleptic and qualitative properties, but above all for the potential release of compounds toxic to human health.
The microbiological stabilization process of food drinks therefore requires extreme care and attention in order to break down the totality of microorganisms such as yeasts or bacteria present in solution.
Thanks to recent studies conducted by the main government bodies, cavitation has proven to be the simplest, most flexible and controllable technology as well as the most energy efficient, while the potential advantages of its application to the pasteurization and homogenization of food liquids, aimed at their introduction to the consumption, derives not so much from energy efficiency, comparable with that of an ordinary electrical resistance, but from the homogeneity of the heating obtained. The combined effect of the average temperature of the liquid and the localized, diffuse and homogeneous release of large quantities of thermal and mechanical energy, allows to reach the required food safety parameters, at average temperatures significantly lower than those of traditional processes. As a direct consequence, there is a marked energy saving and superior ability to control critical issues in the food process and product quality.
A research conducted by the Italian CNR has aimed to inactivate Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the yeasts most commonly used in the food industry for the fermentation of wine and beer, but at the same time responsible for the alterations and deterioration of the juices fruit and milk, as well as among the microorganisms most resistant to thermal and mechanical shocks.
Cavitation applied in food areas has several benefits:
- bacteria and microorganisms are eliminated at lower temperatures than traditional systems;
- less energy consumption for the same results obtained;
- preservation of the organoleptic and nutritional qualities of the products.
It can be applied at the entrance, at the exit or on the whole process. The use in the queue also minimizes any risk of oxidative processes.
The synergistic application of thermal and cavitation processes allows the temperature associated with the mortality of yeasts to be lowered by several degrees in an aqueous solution, therefore, in addition to the obvious benefits in terms of the quality of liquid foods, energy savings are quite significant: at least 2.7% for every 1 ° C drop in the maximum process temperature.