Improving Continuous Ohmic Heating with Pineapple Juice Properties

Jim Crocker
4th April, 2024

Improving Continuous Ohmic Heating with Pineapple Juice Properties

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Tezpur University found that continuous ohmic heating (COH) can effectively pasteurize pineapple juice
  • The efficiency of COH is influenced by the juice's sugar-to-acid ratio and the strength of the electric field applied
  • An artificial neural network model accurately predicted the heating rate, optimizing the pasteurization process
In recent years, food safety and quality have become paramount concerns for consumers and producers alike. A significant challenge within the food industry is the efficient and effective pasteurization of fruit juices to eliminate pathogens without compromising nutritional and sensory qualities. Traditional thermal treatments can degrade important nutrients and alter the taste of juices. However, alternative methods are emerging to address these issues, including continuous ohmic heating (COH) and nonthermal plasma (NTP) treatments. A team of researchers from Tezpur University has conducted a study[1] to explore the potential of COH for pasteurizing pineapple juice. The study aimed to understand how various factors, such as the sugar-to-acid ratio (°Brix/Acid) of the juice, the flow rate at which the juice is processed, and the strength of the electric field applied (EFS), influence the efficiency of the COH process. The °Brix/Acid ratio is a measure of the sugar content relative to the acidity in the juice, which can affect its electrical conductivity and, consequently, how it heats up when an electric current passes through it. The researchers found that a higher °Brix/Acid ratio led to a decrease in acidity and electrical conductivity, meaning it took longer for the juice to reach the target temperature of 90°C, a temperature typically sufficient for pasteurization. The heating rate (HR), which is how quickly the juice temperature increases, was significantly affected by both the °Brix/Acid ratio and the EFS. However, the flow rate, which is how fast the juice moves through the system, had less impact on HR at higher EFS settings. The system performance coefficient (SPC), a measure of the system's efficiency, remained above 0.90, indicating a highly efficient process, but it decreased with higher °Brix/Acid ratios and flow rates. The study's findings suggest that COH can be an effective method for processing fruit juices, with the ability to be finely tuned according to the specific properties of the juice being treated. The researchers used a feed-forward back-propagation artificial neural network (ANN) to model the HR, achieving impressive accuracy with a high R² value of 0.998 and a low root mean square error (RMSE) of 1.255. This study builds on earlier research that has also investigated alternative pasteurization methods[2][3]. For example, a previous study[2] demonstrated that COH could effectively reduce foodborne pathogens in orange juice and tomato juice with minimal quality degradation. Similarly, another study[3] employed an ANN model to optimize nonthermal plasma (NTP) treatment conditions for pineapple juice, preserving antioxidant capacity and ascorbic acid content while inactivating enzymes that can affect juice quality. The current research at Tezpur University extends these findings by focusing on the COH process's optimization for pineapple juice, taking into account the specific characteristics of the juice that can affect heating efficiency. By using ANN modeling, the researchers have provided a method to predict the outcomes of the COH process accurately, which can help in designing more effective and tailored pasteurization protocols. These advancements in juice pasteurization techniques represent a significant step forward in ensuring food safety while maintaining the nutritional and sensory quality of fruit juices. The ability to adjust processing parameters to suit different types of juice means that producers can achieve the desired level of pasteurization without unnecessary loss of quality. As a result, consumers can enjoy safer and healthier juice products. The work of the Tezpur University team contributes valuable knowledge to the field, offering a promising approach to modernizing juice pasteurization with the potential for broader application in the food industry.



Main Study

1) Influence of °Brix/Acid, and flow rate of pineapple juice and electric field strength on the performance of continuous ohmic heating system.

Published 2nd April, 2024

Related Studies

2) Effect of continuous ohmic heating to inactivate Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium and Listeria monocytogenes in orange juice and tomato juice.

3) Effect of dielectric barrier discharge nonthermal plasma treatment on physicochemical, nutritional, and phytochemical quality attributes of pineapple [Ananas comosus (L.)] juice.

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