11. Pulsed Electric Fields Processing Basics

  1. Howard Q. Zhang2,
  2. Gustavo V. Barbosa-Cánovas3,
  3. V.M. Balasubramaniam4,5,
  4. C. Patrick Dunne6,
  5. Daniel F. Farkas7 and
  6. James T.C. Yuan8
  1. Olga Martín-Belloso and
  2. Robert Soliva-Fortuny

Published Online: 20 APR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470958360.ch11

Nonthermal Processing Technologies for Food

Nonthermal Processing Technologies for Food

How to Cite

Martín-Belloso, O. and Soliva-Fortuny, R. (2010) Pulsed Electric Fields Processing Basics, in Nonthermal Processing Technologies for Food (eds H. Q. Zhang, G. V. Barbosa-Cánovas, V.M. Balasubramaniam, C. P. Dunne, D. F. Farkas and J. T.C. Yuan), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470958360.ch11

Editor Information

  1. 2

    USDA Western Regional Research Center, 800 Buchanan St., Albany, CA 94710, USA

  2. 3

    Center for Nonthermal Processing of Food, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6120, USA

  3. 4

    Department of Food Science and Technology, USA

  4. 5

    Department of Food Agricultural and Biological Engineering, The Ohio State University, 333 Parker Food Science and Technology Building, 2015 Fyffe Court, Columbus, OH 43210-1007, USA

  5. 6

    Science, Technology and Applied Research Directorate, U.S Army Natick Soldier R, D & E Center, 15 Kansas Street, Natick, MA 01760, USA

  6. 7

    Department of Food Science and Technology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-6602, USA

  7. 8

    Pepsico Beverages & Foods, 100 Stevens Avenue, Valhalla, NY 10595, USA

Author Information

  1. Department of Food Technology, University of Lleida, Av. Alcalde Rovira Roure, 191., 25198. Lleida, Spain

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 APR 2011
  2. Published Print: 31 DEC 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780813816685

Online ISBN: 9780470958360



  • electromagnetic processes, and pulsed electric fields processing basics;
  • utility of electric fields, to stabilize food products - from beginning of the twentieth century;
  • pulsed electric field (PEF) treatments - on food products, continuously increased;
  • principles of action, of new emerging technology - and main key advantages;
  • application of electrical fields to biological cells - buildup of electrical charges, at cell membrane;
  • electrical breakdown theory, and cell membrane - capacitor filled with dielectric material;
  • PEF generation systems, transforming low voltage energy - into pulsed fields of high intensity;
  • treatment time, as product of pulse width - and average number of pulses;
  • potential food processing applications - of pulsed electric fields;
  • PEF, as potential emerging nonthermal technology - for food preservation


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction

  • Mechanisms of Action

  • Process Engineering of Pulsed Electric Field Treatments

  • Processing Critical Parameters

  • Pulsed Electric Field Processing Systems

  • Limitations and Challenges when Designing Pulsed Electric Field Processing Systems

  • Potential Food Processing Applications of Pulsed Electric Fields

  • Economical and Environmental Considerations of Pulsed Electric Field Treatments

  • Final Considerations and Future Needs

  • References