Pulsed electric field (PEF) application is a non-thermal technique allowing the targeted permeabilisation of biological cell membranes. This effect, termed ‘electroporation’, results in the release of intracellular substances and subsequent cell death.

Using Elea’s PEF Advantage systems allows shelf-life extension of fresh fruit and vegetable juices without compromising product freshness or overall quality. This means that juices and smoothies retain their natural nutritional value, including vitamins, antioxidants and pigments, to produce a healthier, fresher and more appetising final product.

A PEF treatment of a certain energy input results in a five-log inactivation of relevant microorganisms in orange juice. A pre-warming of 45°C has a synergetic effect on PEF efficacy. This enables a shelf-life increase from seven days for untreated juice to up to 21, 40 or even 60 days after PEF.

Compare PEF with other processes

At present PEF and HPP (high-pressure processing) are the most promising alternatives to conventional pasteurisation. Making use of the effect of electroporation PEF results in a significantly lower heat load than a heat treatment. The total processing costs including investment and operation are in a range of $0.02/L of product, making PEF a commercially viable alternative to other processing techniques.

PEF allows continuous operation at a high processing capacity of up to 10,000L/ hour, which in comparison with HPP allows an easier integration into existing processing lines. As PEF is applied pre-bottling, it is suitable for all kind of packaging materials including pouches, PET or glass bottles with low personnel and maintenance requirements.