Industrial Liaison Office

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Vegetable oils for food preservation

Freezing is one of the most common methods of food preservation, designed to safeguard the food's original appearance and nutritional value even after prolonged storage. However, the freezing process modifies food structure, especially in the case of oils and fats, and particular care must be taken to ensure that the quality of taste remains unaffected.

 

Elettra's contribution
Knowledge of the chemical composition of oils and fats used in food production has been the starting point for many scientific studies undertaken at Elettra to investigate the optimal conditions for the industrial production process.
Industrial freezing of food can be a fairly rapid process with various consequences for its chemicophysical properties, among them the crystallisation of fats, a matter of great interest to the industry because of the implications for food safety, quality and nutritional value. One well studied freezing method can produce a more effective crystallisation process in oils, retarding oxidation, which needs to be contained because of its adverse effects on the quality and taste of food.
Studies of the crystallographic structure of sunflower, palm and olive oils, all commonly used in food, have been carried out at Elettra in collaboration with the Department of Food Science of the University of Udine, and have revealed the nature of certain structural changes that occur when fats are subjected to sudden and drastic temperature changes.

 

Facility: HRD1 Beamline
Bibliography:
Modeling the temperature dependence of oxidation rate in waterin-oil emulsions stored at sub-zero temperatures; S. Calligaris, L. Manzocco, M. C. Vicoli; Food Chemistry, Vol. 101, 3: p 1019; 2007.