UKPCS Science Chemistry: Food preservation (Modern techniques) #69

Oracle IAS, the best coaching institute for UPSC/IAS/PCS preparation in Dehradun brings to you UKPCS Science Chemistry (paper 6)- Food preservation.

Modern industrial techniques

Pasteurization is a process for preservation of liquid food. It was originally applied to combat the souring of young local wines. Today, the process is mainly applied to dairy products. In this method, milk is heated at about 70 °C (158 °F) for 15–30 seconds to kill the bacteria present in it and cooling it quickly to 10 °C (50 °F) to prevent the remaining bacteria from growing. The milk is then stored in sterilized bottles or pouches in cold places. This method was invented by Louis Pasteur, a French chemist.Food preservation

Vacuum-packing stores food in a vacuum environment, usually in an air-tight bag or bottle. The vacuum environment strips bacteria of oxygen needed for survival. Vacuum-packing is commonly used for storing nuts to reduce loss of flavor from oxidization.

Preservative food additives can be antimicrobial—which inhibit the growth of bacteria or fungi, including mold—or antioxidant, such as oxygen absorbers, which inhibit the oxidation of food constituents. Common antimicrobial preservatives include calcium propionate, sodium nitrate.

Irradiation of food is the exposure of food to ionizing radiation. The two types of ionizing radiation used are beta particles (high-energy electrons) and gamma rays. The technology may be compared to pasteurization; it is sometimes called “cold pasteurization”, as the product is not heated.

Modifying atmosphere is a way to preserve food by operating on the atmosphere around it. Salad crops that are notoriously difficult to preserve are now being packaged in sealed bags with an atmosphere modified to reduce the oxygen (O2) concentration and increase the carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration. There is concern that, although salad vegetables retain their appearance and texture in such conditions, this method of preservation may not retain nutrients, especially vitamins. There are two methods for preserving grains with carbon dioxide. One method is placing a block of dry ice in the bottom and filling the can with the grain. Another method is purging the container from the bottom by gaseous carbon dioxide from a cylinder or bulk supply vessel. Carbon dioxide prevents insects and, depending on concentration, mold and oxidation from damaging the grain. Grain stored in this way can remain edible for approximately five years.Nitrogen gas (N2) at concentrations of 98% or higher is also used effectively to kill insects in the grain through hypoxia.

High-pressure food preservation or pascalization refers to the use of a food preservation technique that makes use of high pressure. “Pressed inside a vessel exerting 70,000 pounds per square inch (480 MPa) or more, food can be processed so that it retains its fresh appearance, flavor, texture and nutrients while disabling harmful microorganisms and slowing spoilage.

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