Pascalisation (HPP)

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Pascalisation (HPP)

Pascalisation (pascalization), also known as High Pressure Processing (HPP) or Ultra High Pressure Processing (UHP) is the name of a preservation technique for food products. English terminology is often used for high pressure techniques, of which HPP is the most common one. Other names used are Ultra High Pressure (UHP or UHD), High Isostatic Pressure (HIP) and High Hydrostatic Pressure (HHP). Characteristic for this preservation technique are the low temperature and extremely high pressure. The high pressure inactivates harmful pathogens and vegetative microorganisms that cause spoilage. Due to the lower temperature there is a better retention of the original nutritional value and natural sensory qualities of the food product.

Description

A Pascalisation treatment takes place in a pressure vessel. The pre-packaged product is placed in a pressure fluid (usually water). The pressure is increased by pumping additional liquid into the pressure vessel until the desired pressure is reached (100-600 MPa). After a few minutes, the pressure is lowered, after which the batch treatment is finished. Because the pressure vessel is pressurized in isostatic manner, the whole product undergoes the same uniform treatment. A cold pasteurization can thus be carried out at room temperature.

Application scope

High-pressure treatment is a relatively old technique: in 1899 Hite already described that milk could be pasteurized using high pressure. In the chemical industry the process is used for the production of polyethylene. For this purpose, pressure vessels of a few hundred liters are used, with a pressure range around 300-400 MPa. About twenty years ago high pressure was commercially introduced in Japan for food preservation. At present, the technique is used for a large range of products, such as orange juice, guacamole, ham, oysters, rice and fruit desserts. Geographically, it’s mostly used in Japan, the United States and Europe. See the following site for a list of commercially available products. There are approximately 220 production lines worldwide. Macromolecules may change in shape and properties under pressure. Processes that (partially) take place are protein denaturation, crystallization of fats and gelatinization of starch. High pressure has no influence on small molecules such as flavour compounds, fragrances and vitamins. However, because enzymes and micro-organisms will become inactivated under high pressure, a preserved product is created by the treatment, with a fresh(er) taste, aroma and colour versus a heat pasteurised equivalent. The main driving force for reactions under pressure is the volume of the reaction product. Proteins (including enzymes) tend to denature, while micro-organisms are inactivated due to both crystallization of cell membranes and (partial) denaturation of essential enzymes. Products can be packaged in a cup or bowl with top seal, in bottles, pouches, or pockets. Not all packaging types are suitable and often require pressure endurance validation before use.


Attainable Unique Selling Points for HPP products


Showcase applications for HPP added value in practise


Requirements for HPP

Product quality

HPP generally results in inactivation of micro-organisms and enzymes, while leaving small molecules unaffected. Pascalisation is mainly used commercially for the pasteurization of food products. Typical treatment conditions vary between 300 and 600 MPa at room temperature, which inactivates vegetative bacteria and most of the enzymes, thereby extending the shelf-life with 4 - 8 weeks. The products can be treated in both large and small (consumer) packaging types.

On eliminating Salmonella and Campylobacter: The Dutch policital party "De Partij voor de Dieren" (Party for the Animals) asked the Dutch government on September 2009 whether this technique could provide a possible solution in the fight against food-borne illnesses by Salmonella and Campylobacter.

Below is a picture of an Avure 100L system (Sweden / USA), and a 3D rendered picture of a Chic Freshertec system (China).

A review article on creating more shelf-life with pressure can be found here. A specific article on treating salmon with pressure can be found here.

Avure 350L systeem

Pros and cons

Pros

Cons

Availability of equipment

Pascalisation systems are commercially available with a throughput of 500 to 3000 kg per hour. The following systems are suitable for the food industry:

Manufacturers of laboratory equipment are: (1) Avure, (2) Resato International (3) Stansted (4) UHDE. In the Netherlands “TOP b.v.” and “FBR / WUR” have testing equipment available. In Germany “DIL”, and in Belgium “Flanders Food” also have equipment available for carrying out Pascalisation research. U.S. company “All Natural Freshness” supplies containers, transport carts, and other peripheral equipment for HPP.

Cost

Pascalisation costs about 10-15 cents per kg of product. It is also possible to use contractors as co-processors (cost 30-40 cents per kg product). The majority of this increased amount is due to incorporated depreciation of investment costs. At Avure a standard high-pressure unit costs approximately € 1 - 1.5 million. This excludes maintenance costs.

Media

Below is a video of Avure explaining how product development takes place.

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