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Novel enzyme infusion technique uses positive pressure.

One of the most significant challenges facing food processors is the need to launch innovative products and ingredients. While this critical need is likely to significantly boost research and development activity and spending, participants are coming up short in terms of launching such products. Applying enzymes more extensively to product development may help processors overcome this impediment and develop innovative products.

Enzymes are frequently used in food processing in a variety of ways. Pressure is also used, but usually only ultra-high pressures of more than 10 MPa are used for sterilizing or denaturing a protein or for inactivating endogenous enzymes.

The goal of Japanese scientists was to introduce enzymes using positive pressure to food material in order to fortify or weaken a solid physical property. They found that a pressure of less than 1 MPa could make a significant change in the property of food materials.

The scientists soaked food materials in an enzyme solution in the presence of positive pressures of up to 5 MPa. They also recycled the enzyme solution. When they treated carrot or pumpkin with a pectinase solution at 0.5 MPa for a range of seconds to minutes, the researchers saw a definitive weakening of the vegetable structure. When they treated the carrot, potato or pumpkin with pectin methyl esterase (PME), they observed a significant hardening of the vegetables.

When using PME, there was no difference in product structure after 5 seconds or 20 minutes of pressurization. But by altering the amount of pressure, the scientists were able to control the hardening of the vegetables. When using recycled PME for use on pumpkins or carrots, it was possible to use the same enzyme solution more than 10 times with hardly any loss of hardening ability. Further information. Y. Fujishima, Institute of Life Sciences, Ajinomoto Co. Inc., Suzuki-cho 1-1, Kawasakiku, Kawasaki-shi, 210-8681, Japan; phone: +81 (3) 5250-8111; URL:
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Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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