A novel continuous preservation process of apple juice using a nano/micro-porous cellulosic material (or “tubular cellulose”, abrrev. TC), is presented in this study. This investigation aims to the development of a non-thermal system for microbial stabilization, avoiding the degradation of food quality caused by heat. TC was used as filterin a packed-bed type bioreactor supplied with commercial apple juice contaminated with Saccharomyces cerevisiae or Lactobacillus plantarum cells at 4 °C. The effect of the filter size on the microbial load removal and chemical/sensory properties of the juice was evaluated. The system presented good operational stability during 55 and 30 days for the removal of yeast and bacteria, respectively. The increase of filter size improved the microbial removal yield and the system effectiveness. The organoleptic parameter values decreased after ΤC regeneration but then reached almost initial levels. The proposed process is a low-cost and promising alternative to existing thermal pasteurization technologies.Industrial relevance: Conventional thermal pasteurization treatments are applied industrially for microbial stabilization of foods but significantly affect the organoleptic characteristics of the products. This study evaluated a novel non-thermal preservation method of contaminated apple juice that meets the consumer's demand for less processed products with high nutritional value. Commercial apple juice was contaminated with S. cerevisiae or L. plantarum cells and then was continuously pumped through tubular cellulose. The increasedsize of the filter leads to improved microbial removal yields. Despite the decrease of volatile compounds and colour at the start up of the process and after each filter regeneration with hot water, almost initial parameter values were achieved as the process evolved. The proposed technology can be a promising alternative of industrial pasteurization techniques for food applications.
- Apple juice preservation
- nano/micro-tubular cellulose