Electric Field Treatment Chamber

The electro-mechanical instability of cell membrane to electrical field is a phenomenon that has been shown to inactivation of micro-organisms in liquid media. This has led to the development of a method referred to as cold-pasteurization for the treatment of liquid foods. The technique has many advantages over conventional heat treatment methods in that it preserves the natural quality of the foods. Since the method is based on the use of pulsed electric fields (PEF), it is energy efficient.

Significant work has been done in this area, particularly in an effort to adopt this methodology for practical application. However, much of the work has been focussed on improvements with respect to electric field parameters. The study at the University of Waterloo has pursued a new approach that has considered both, the electrical field parameters and fluid dynamics properties in the treatment process. Such approach has resulted in the development of a new electrode assembly configuration for a PEF treatment which unlike the conventional treatment chambers makes effective use of the highest electric field generated, eliminates “edge effects” and at the same time reduces turbulence by providing steady and uniform flow of the fluid under treatment, thus providing uniform treatment. The chamber was tested at the lab scale for treatment of juices and water containing micro-organisms with highly encouraging results for practical application

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