FOOD RESEARCH INTERNATIONAL, vol.101, pp.17-23, 2017 (SCI-Expanded)
The inactivation of pathogenic and spoilage bacteria as well as the formation of food processing contaminants (e.g. acrylamide, furan, etc.) in infant foods is of utmost importance for industry, consumers as well as regulatory bodies. In this study, the potential of high hydrostatic pressure (HHP) for microorganism inactivation including total mesophilic aerobic bacteria (TMA) and total yeasts and molds (TYM) at equivalent processing conditions, as well as its effects on furan formation in vegetable-based infant food was evaluated. The process parameters evaluated were combinations of pressures (200, 300, and 400 MPa), temperatures (25, 35, and 45 degrees C), and treatment times (5, 10, and 15 min). Pressure, time and temperature had a significant influence on both TMA and TYM inactivation of vegetable-based infant foods, observing a significant reduction in both microbial populations when all the factors were increased, although the extent of reduction was clearly influenced by the type of microorganism. A synergism between pressure, time and temperature was observed for the reduction of both TMA and TYM populations and it was found that HHP at 400 MPa resulted in a complete inactivation of TMA as well as TYM after 15 min of treatment at 45 degrees C. The furan content in all HHP treated samples was found to be below the limit of detection. Thus, HHP treatment could be considered as a potential alternative to thermal processing of vegetable-based infant foods.