Power ultrasound technology in food processing

Power ultrasound is a versatile technique which has many applications in processing and is effective in microbial inactivation.

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Power ultrasound is a versatile technique which has many applications, for example, it can be used to control or suppress foam in beverages, extract functional compounds, improve crystallisation and enhance microbial inactivation. It works by applying mechanical energy in the form of ultrasound vibrations from a sonitrode. These ultrasound waves create microscopic cavitation bubbles which grow, stretching and compressing, until they reach a critical size and then collapse. This generates high shear forces. This cavitation effect can be seen here. One effect is to break temporary bonds which can make cleaning easier. Power ultrasound can be applied to liquids where a change in properties is needed such as emulsification, as shown here, as well as viscosity, foam production and crystallisation. It has potential to reduce energy consumption, water consumption and the need for additives. It can be built to food-grade and for small and large commercial scale up to 5000 litres per minute. This clip shows the pilot system at Campden BRI ideal for exploratory trials.

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