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Journal of Food Engineering
Vol. 223, 2018, Pages: 32-41

A review of sublethal effects of pulsed electric field on cells in food processing

Man-Sheng Wang, Lang-Hong Wang, Alaa El-Din A.Bekhit, Jing Yang, Zhen-Ping Hou, Yan-Zhou Wang, Qiu-Zhong Dai, Xin-An Zeng

Institute of Bast Fiber Crops, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Changsha, China.


Pulsed electric field (PEF) treatment, a novel technology which has an electroporation effect on cells, has a wide range of practical applications, especially in the food industry. Because of their varying susceptibility to PEF, cells exhibit one of three possible states after PEF treatment: dead, intact or sublethally injured. This review article summarizes the relevant references, focusing on the sublethal effects of PEF treatment of cells during food processing. The protective and metabolic mechanisms involved associated with the phenomenon of sublethal effects are featured. In addition, some useful methods which could be combined with PEF to enhance the bactericidal effect are discussed in detail. In summary, PEF technology holds great promise as a widely applicable, safe method for food pasteurization.

Keywords: Sublethal, Pulsed electric field, Resistance, Synergistic, Microorganism, Food safety.

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