Use of pulsed electric field to extract valuable components from plant material
Research Field: Food Science
Content of research:
A new alternative technology is the Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) technology. Technically, PEF process is the application of very short pulses (micro – to milliseconds), at electric field intensities ranging from 1-80 kV/cm, applied to plant material held between two electrodes inside a chamber and with minimal thermal effect (max. +1oC) to the final product. During the project, a laboratory scale PEF apparatus was constructed in order to investigate the possibility of processing plant material for the production of very high quality liquid extracts (without heating and with low microbial load). The extracts that were produced under the influence of PEF were tested on products of interest (cosmetics and dietary supplements) with the purpose of enriching them with more active natural ingredients, ie plant extracts resulting from the use of PEF technology, which are more beneficial than those produced by the methods used so far.
Demand for Collaboration:
The project ends by the end of 2021. However, the research continuous after the end of the project. Therefore, lab personnel (postdoc grade) with expertise in instrumental analysis (HPLC, GC/MS, DSC, FTIR, etc) and in food and plant extract analysis is still needed.
The scientific team is also looking for food industries worldwide for collaboration concerning this research and further application of the acquired knowledge.
Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) is an emerging technique suitable for “green” sustainable production process. This nonthermal technology decreases processing time, reduces the degradation of unstable metabolites and energy costs, and, hence, minimizes the environmental impact.