Food Processing and Control

The objective of this research line is to evaluate the combined effect of different food transformation/preservation technologies in order to identify synergies and advantages compared with the specific application of only one of those technologies. Combined methods are not only contributing to minimize the applied intensity during food treatments but also to the design of potential novel food.

Researchers
Artur Xavier Roig Sagués
Antonio José Trujillo Mesa


Projects:

1.- Evaluating combinations of classical and/or emerging technologies to seek synergic effects to improve safety and stability of foods reducing undesirable effect on their nutritional and sensorial properties
2.-  Obtaining sterile liquid foods by the joint application of UHPH-UVC (AGL2014-60005-R)  The main objective of this project is to obtain foods with safe and stable long-life, and with higher nutritional and sensory quality than heat-treated liquid foods. For this prototype, equipment will develop from the combination of a desktop UHPH coupled to a device that allows the fluid in turbulent flow to the action of a UVC lamp. This system will allow the application of two technologies continuously and with the possibility to change the order to evaluate its effect on microorganisms. The optimum treatment conditions will be selected against resistant forms of significant microorganisms, both pathogenic and spoilage, evaluating the lethal effect due to both dependent variables (process and matrix). The verification process will be carried out in clarified apple juice and standardized cow's milk (pH neutral).
Contact person: Artur X. Roig Sagués (arturxavier.roig@uab.cat)

This research program focuses on the development and application of optical sensor technologies for inline food process monitoring and control as well as for inline quantification of food compounds, and evaluation of their functional and/or technological properties. Different inline optical sensor technologies using UV/VIS/NIR light backscatter and fluorescence (right angle and front face configurations) are currently under development: a) inline determination of gel firmness in rennet-induced milk gels, b) inline determination of yoghurt and fermented dairy products pH, c) combined monitoring of milk coagulation and curd syneresis during cheese manufacturing, d) determination of the degree of whey protein denaturation during thermal treatment of milk, e) inline estimation of thermal damage in milk using fluorescence, and f) determination of the degree of meat emulsification during chopping.

Researchers
Manuel Castillo Zambudio
Jordi Saldo Periago


Projects:

Inline determination of gel firmness in rennet-induced milk gels
This project includes prediction algorithms for real-time estimation of the gel storage modulus (G’) from a light scatter signal, which allows to select the cutting time based on the gel firmness.  This algorithm has been protected through submitting an EU patent application by the Technology Transfer Office of UAB.
Contact person:Manuel Castillo (manuel.castillo@uab.es).
 
Inline determination of yoghurt and fermented dairy products pH
Another innovative prediction algorithm allows real time transformation of a light backscatter sensor signal into milk pH units. This sensor facilitates inline determination of the fermentation end-point of milk during manufacture of yoghurt and other fermented dairy products. This algorithm has also been protected by UAB through submitting an EU patent application.
Contact person:Manuel Castillo (manuel.castillo@uab.es) and Antonio Trujillo (toni.trujillo@uab.cat).
 
Combined monitoring of milk coagulation and curd syneresis for cheese making
This is an ambitious project that capitalizes not only a ground-breaking, unique sensor design, but also robustness of new generation data acquisition systems, miniature size of new optoelectronic components, and recent advances in chemometrics, computer and process control sciences to generate a marketable and innovative tool for optimization and complete automation of cheese processing based on the comprehensive and scientific control of the various physical-chemical processes occurring in the cheese vat.
Contact person:Manuel Castillo (manuel.castillo@uab.es).
 
Determination of the degree of whey protein denaturation during thermal treatment of milk
This project includes prediction models of whey protein denaturation variables utilizing an optical sensor set-up with the potential for inline implementation during thermal processing.  Models were developed successfully for prediction of casein micelle particle size, soluble aggregate whey proteins, bound whey proteins and native whey proteins.
Contact person: Manuel Castillo (manuel.castillo@uab.es).
 
Inline estimation of thermal damage in milk using front-face fluorescence
The objective of this project is the development of a rapid, low-cost technology for inline quantification of damage tracers generated during milk processing using front-face fluorescence. Successful development of this innovative optic technology will aid in the decision-making process of dairy plants for the efficient use of milk and the assurance of a high-quality product as well as in the authentication of milk treatments, which will benefit the consumers, the companies and the Governmental Regulatory Agencies.
Contact person: Manuel Castillo (manuel.castillo@uab.es) and Jordi Saldo (jordi.saldo@uab.cat).
 
Inline determination of the degree of meat emulsification during chopping
This project addresses the development of an innovative fiber optic technology to control, inline, the chopping speed and/or time of Frankfurt sausages to improve their quality, uniformity and yield.  Successful development of this technology will have a huge impact on the meat industry in terms of processing efficiency and product quality.
Contact person: Manuel Castillo (manuel.castillo@uab.es) and Montse Mor-Mur (montserrat.mor-mur@uab.cat).



Researchers
María Manuela Hernández Herrero
Artur Xavier Roig Sagués

Projects:

1.- Evaluation of continuous UV-C treatments to improve safety and stability of food matrices such as fruit juices, milk or honey.
a) Obtaining sterile liquid foods by the joint application of UHPH-UVC (AGL2014-60005-R)  The main objective of this project is to obtain foods with safe and stable long-life, and with higher nutritional and sensory quality than heat-treated liquid foods. For this prototype, equipment will develop from the combination of a desktop UHPH coupled to a device that allows the fluid in turbulent flow to the action of a UVC lamp. This system will allow the application of two technologies continuously and with the possibility to change the order to evaluate its effect on microorganisms. The optimum treatment conditions will be selected against resistant forms of significant microorganisms, both pathogenic and spoilage, evaluating the lethal effect due to both dependent variables (process and matrix). The verification process will be carried out in clarified apple juice and standardized cow's milk (pH neutral).
b) Continuous application of shortwave ultraviolet light (UVC) in honey to optimize its inclusion in infant formula (EvalXarta 2017). The aim of this project is to evaluate UV-C treatments in honey for young children for direct consumption or for incorporation in infant formulas that have honey as an ingredient, inactivating Clostridium botulinum spores that can contaminate honey.
Contact person: Artur X. Roig Sagués (arturxavier.roig@uab.cat)


Evaluation and validation of the application of high hydrostatic pressure on foods:  safety; nutritional and functional properties; sensory characteristics. Shelf-life studies.

Researchers
Marta Capellas Puig
Manuel Castillo Zambudio
Victoria Ferragut Pérez

María Manuela Hernández Herrero
Bibiana Juan Godoy

Artur Xavier Roig Sagués
Jordi Saldo Periago


Projects:

EVALXARTA 2013. New functional ingredient (whey proteins pressurized) for the production of low-fat cheese with improved nutritional and sensory characteristics
Use of high hydrostatic pressure on whey proteins for using as a functional ingredient to improve low-fat cheeses. Denaturation of whey proteins by high pressure produced an ingredient with improved functional characteristics with a wide range of applications. One of them will be the production of low-fat cheeses with improved nutritional and sensorial characteristics.
Contact Person: ( Bibiana.Juan@uab.cat )

Ultra High Pressure Homogenization (UHPH) is a novel technology based on the same principles as conventional homogenization (20-60 MPa), capable of operating up to 300 MPa. This technology, which is a continuous process, effectively allows an efficient particle reduction, better than classical homogenization, with a concomitant reduction of the microbial load. It is suitable for liquid foods producing a high microbial and physical stability.

Researchers
Manuel Castillo Zambudio
Victoria Ferragut Pérez

María Manuela Hernández Herrero
Bibiana Juan Godoy

Artur Xavier Roig Sagués
Jordi Saldo Periago

 


Projects:

UHPH4FOOD Project: New generation of UHPH equipment for the development and maintenance of fluid food. 
The consortium of the UHPH4FOOD project, formed by the company for the development and manufacture of machinery for the food industry YPSICON S.L., the research centers CERPTA-UAB and AZTI, and the food companies Creaciones Aromáticas Industriales S.A. (CARINSA) and Industrias Alimentarias de Navarra (IAN Group), has developed and validated a new generation of ultra high pressure homogenization equipment (UHPH) designed and manufactured by YPSICON SL, the company that owns a patent for this process in the main world markets.
The new ultra high pressure homogenization technology is presented as an alternative to traditional pasteurization and sterilization processes.
The UHPH4FOOD project has been funded by the State Secretariat for Research, Development and Innovation of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through its call RETOS and as a main result of it has developed a pre-industrial UHPH equipment with a capacity of 150 L/h at 3000 bar. This has allowed the technology to be tested in conditions close to the industrial ones, developing diverse fluid food products. The food company IAN along with AZTI have tested the application of UHPH in liquid vegetable products, while CARINSA, in collaboration with CERPTA, has tested the application of UHPH on concentrates for the production of beverages.
Food products used as ingredients can be stripped of some undesired nutritional characteristics, or can undergo a process of biofortification in order to improve the nutritional benefits. By the combination of traditional or improved ingredients, the formulated food products can meet the nutritional demands of the population. Research in new technologies to develop healthier dairy products, specially focused on the reduction of sodium and fat contents and the use of prebiotics in order to enhance beneficial health effects and to improve sensory acceptance.

The results obtained from the application of UHPH to the type of food products tested put this technology in a promising position in the face of the challenge of becoming an alternative to traditional thermal pasteurization and sterilization processes, and preventing the significant damages caused by thermal treatments on nutritional composition and sensory aspects (flavor and texture).

Contact person: Jordi Saldo (jordi.saldo@uab.cat)
 

Bioactive emulsifiers functionalized by ultra high pressure homogenization (UHPH) for the microencapsulation of vegetable oils. Application to dairy based products.

AGL2017-83331-R. Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades. Period: 2018-21
Submicron emulsions (< 1 μm) can be produced by Ultra-High Pressure Homogenization and they can be used as carriers of bioactive compounds (i.e. omega-3, CLA, etc), which opens great expectations for new applications in the food sector, and also in the pharmaceutic and cosmetic sectors. In this project, emulsions with several types of oils (sunflower and chia), with different oxidation propensities, and different types of protein concentrates based on milk fat globule membrane, rich in proteins and phospholipids, used as emulsifiers will be formulated. In these emulsions the effect of the emulsifier type and concentration, the level of pressure applied, and the oil concentration in the emulsion on their physicochemical characteristics and stability, will be assessed.


Contact persons: Antonio J. Trujillo (Toni.Trujillo@uab.cat) and Victoria Ferragut (Victoria.Ferragut@uab.cat).