Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) technology has shown its potentials to modify food structure, to improve food functionality such as plant protein and starch digestibility and solubility, and to create unique sensory characteristics that are appealing to consumers. This technology uses less electricity and water during operation than conventional thermal processing, which is essential to achieve sustainable food processing and production.
Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) is considered as an innovative green technology. It uses less electricity and water during operation than conventional thermal processing, which is essential to achieve sustainable food production. PEF technology has broader applications not limited to pasteurization, bioactive extraction, and microstructure modification of solid plant materials but it can diminish the effect of seasonal variations in the raw material on the final quality, improve food functionality such as plant protein and starch digestibility and solubility, and create unique sensory characteristics that are appealing to consumers.
In the potato industry, PEF treatment results in 20% less oil in the resulting fried potatoes due to porous structure of potato after PEF as well as less browning due to enhanced leaching of excess sugars by PEF, which ultimately reduces product rejection and waste. From nutrition and sensory perspectives, the fried potato products produced from PEF-treated potatoes had reduced energy density and was perceived to be crunchier by consumers (n=74) and satiating. In vitro study showed that fried products from PEF-treated potatoes exhibited a slower rate (by 37%) of starch digestion kinetics, which implies a slower and more sustained release of glucose and could be beneficial to improve the postprandial response in individuals with type-2 diabetes. From processing and operation perspectives, PEF helps potato manufacturers to save up to 80% of existing water consumption, up to 50% of energy consumption and 100% replace coal used in the pre-heating to provide global environmental benefit towards reduction of CO2 emission.
In addition, PEF can affect the chewing behavior of cooked legumes during in vivo human mastication (n=22), leading to production of legume bolus with small particle size and hence improve the in vitro protein digestibility without affecting the rate of starch hydrolysis. Improvement in nutrition quality was also observed in cereals and root vegetables.
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