• Keywords:;
  • commercial sterilization;
  • fluid foods;
  • hydrodynamic cavitation;
  • pasteurization;
  • spoilage microorganisms

ABSTRACT:  Hydrodynamic cavitation is the formation of gas bubbles in a fluid due to pressure fluctuations induced by mechanical means. Various high-acid (pH ≥ 4.6) fluid foods were processed in a hydrodynamic cavitation reactor to determine if commercial sterility can be achieved at reduced processing temperatures. Sporicidal properties of the process were also tested on a low-acid (pH < 4.6) fluid food. Fluid foods were pumped under pressure into a hydrodynamic cavitation reactor and subjected to 2 rotor speeds and flow rates to achieve 2 designated exit temperatures. Thermal inactivation kinetics were used to determine heat-induced lethality for all organisms. Calcium-fortified apple juice processed at 3000 and 3600 rpm rotor speeds on the reactor went through a transient temperature change from 20 to 65.6 or 76.7 °C and the total process lethality exceeded 5-log reduction of Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus sakei cells, and Zygosaccharomyces bailii cells and ascospores. Tomato juice inoculated with Bacillus coagulans spores and processed at 3000 and 3600 rpm rotor speeds endured a transient temperature from 37.8 to 93.3 or 104.4 °C with viable CFU reductions of 0.88 and 3.10 log cycles, respectively. Skim milk inoculated with Clostridium sporogenes putrefactive anaerobe 3679 spores and processed at 3000 or 3600 rpm rotor speeds endured a transient temperature from 48.9 to 104.4 or 115.6 °C with CFU reductions of 0.69 and 2.84 log cycles, respectively. Utilizing hydrodynamic cavitation to obtain minimally processed pasteurized low-acid and commercially sterilized high-acid fluid foods is possible with appropriate process considerations for different products.