Pulsed electric fields harnessed to kill Listeria monocytogenes in milk

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pulsed electric fields harnessed to kill Listeria monocytogenes in milk

Related tags: Listeria monocytogenes

An Israeli scientist has harnessed the power of pulsed electric fields (PELs) to kill Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in milk.

As detailed in his study, Long-term Listeria monocytogenes proliferation control in milk by intermittently delivered pulsed electric fields, implications for food security in the low-income countries​, Tel Aviv University's Dr Alexander Goldberg found that intermittently delivered pulsed electric fields (IDPEF) kill Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in milk.

Pulsed electric fields (PEFs) delivered for just a fraction of a second destroy cells by damaging the cell membrane.

This "phenomenon" -​ known also as irreversible electroporation - kills the bacteria, as opposed to refrigeration, which merely slows the metabolism of bacteria.

"In summary, we demonstrated the application of IDPEF on milk storage and showed that IDPEF can control Listeria monocytogenes proliferation in milk,"​ said the study, published in the journal, Technology.

IDPEF does not require a constant electricity supply and can be powered five and a half hours a day using small, "family scale"​ solar panels - making it ideal for small-scale farmers in low-income countries.

"We believe that IDPEF can provide a robust, simple and energy efficient milk preservation system that would decrease the wasted milk thus increasing the income of small farmers in developing countries,"​ the study reads.

Further research is, however, still required in several areas, including the materials that can be used for the IDPEF storage chamber.

The impact of IDPEF on the organoleptic and enzymatic activity of the milk should be further investigated, it continued.

"Nevertheless, given the potential advantages of IDPEF technology, we believe that under proposed operation and continuous development of storage chambers, IDPEF storage could empower millions of small farmers in the low income countries by providing them a simple and energy efficient technology for milk preservation,"​ it added.

Goldberg is now exploring the idea of partnerships with interested agencies to develop an affordable device to reduce food waste and increase small-scale farmer income, American Friends of Tel Aviv University reported.

Source: Technology http://www.tau.ac.il/~agolberg/pdf/2015_5.pdf
Title: Long-term Listeria monocytogenes proliferation control in milk by intermittently delivered pulsed electric fields, implications for food security in the low-income countries
Author: Dr Alexander Goldberg 

Related topics: R&D, Fresh Milk, Emerging Markets

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