Novel ways to facilitate peeling of tomatoes for processing involving electric fields are being tested by a research team at the University of Salerno in southern Italy. Electric pulses are being used by Giovanna Ferrari’s team to open a pore in the cell membrane and increase the permeability of the peel. This enables the tomatoes to be peeled more easily using steam. The technique, termed Pulsed Electric Field Preservation (PEF), can reduce steam for peeling, and thereby lowering water consumption and total energy use. Electrical pulses are applied during the tomatoes’ first washing cycle, with electric pulses of under 1000 Volts/cm2 are fired onto the tomatoes. Results of the experiments indicate that energy consumption at a tomato processing plant could be reduced by over 20%. The nearby FPD plant in Salerno, which produces around 30.000 metric tons of processed tomatoes annually could potentially reduce CO2 emissions by 52 tons in the course of one season if they adopted PEF for all their processing production lines.
Thu 14/12/2017 by Richard Wilkinson