Elea looks back on successful PEF Advantage Days:
Focus on PEF application in industrial vegetable processing and yeast and algae treatment

Interested people from around the world, including Brazil, Turkey, Belgium and Tunisia had registered for the Elea PEF Advantage Day, which took place on 11 & 12 October at the Elea Application Center in Quakenbrück, Germany.

Presentations by industry experts, machine and application demonstrations and discussion panels allowed insights into the application of pulsed electric fields (PEF) and their advantages for the food industry. A special focus this year lay on the application of PEF in industrial vegetable processing, as well as the advantages in biotechnology, for example in the extraction from yeasts or microalgae.

Especially with vegetables, the effect of the procedure can be directly captured live. Many of our guests had heard about PEF beforehand, but seeing the effects on the vegetables’ texture with their own eyes provided completely different insights, according to the participants.

Eleas Food Engineers Kevin Hill and Sam Hopper explained the benefits of PEF treatment using different types of vegetables. The guests had then the chance to try it out themselves: sweet potatoes were cut, tomatoes peeled and carrot juice extracted, with the result that PEF has a positive effect at different stages of vegetable processing. Product quality can be improved and cutting, blanching, drying or freezing can be optimised. Significant cost advantages can be achieved by reducing energy consumption and at the same time increasing yield. In addition, the change in cell structure creates new possibilities for product development.

The second focus on biotechnology has brought more guests to Quakenbrück with an interest in PEF application for protein and colour extraction. Our biotechnology application experts Sofie Schröder and Nina Siebels microscopically evaluated PEF-treated brewer’s yeast. Cell disruption could be demonstrated by colouring the cells with methylene blue. PEF allows protein and other valuable components to be extracted from a by-product and to be used again in the production of food and cosmetic products, or biotechnology.

Marc Schmidt, research and development engineer for liquid applications at Elea, together with Sofie Schröder, carried out a live treatment of Spirulina microalgae and performed an extraction of proteins and dyes. After centrifuging the biomass, it could be seen that the blue dye phycocyanin had increased in the supernatant.

As every year, we did not miss the opportunity to serve our guests Elea PEF products from our customers. For lunch, we had with PEF-produced French fries from Wernsing Feinkost, a vegan version of curry sausage from the neighbouring DIL Deutsches Institut für Lebensmitteltechnik e.V. in combination with PEF-treated orange juice from Hoogesteger, as well as freeze-dried fruits from the start-up company Frudist and vegetable & crisps from Vakuum Foods and Amica Chips as snacks.

We are pleased about a very successful event with many interesting discussions and enthusiastic participants. Direct and personal contact with our customers is very important to us. We also welcome interested parties at any other time to experience the PEF advantages live and to work together on new applications.