Application of PEF in food and biotechnology aims the electroporation of the membranes of microorganisms and cells of animal or vegetable tissues. The increment of the permeability of the cell envelopes by electroporation permits to inactivate microorganisms at lower temperatures than those used in thermal process, to enhance the efficiency of mass transfer of water or valuable compounds in drying, extraction and diffusion processes and to modify the structure of fruits and vegetables improving cutting and peeling operations. The intense research on basic and applied aspects of PEF conducted in the last years by several research groups has contributed to a detailed understanding of these processes. Recent developments in pulse power generators have permitted the design of appropriate PEF units at industrial scale. First commercial applications of the technology have been achieved and it is expected that new ones will be launched in the near future.
The aim of the course is to offer attendants (PhD students, early-stage researches and industrial users of the technology) with an overview of knowledge and understanding of the basic principles involved in processing by pulse electric fields and to provide practice in the use of these principles for liquid food pasteurization and improving mass transfer operations in the food industry. Basic concepts that are required to understand electroporation and generation of pulsed electric fields from an electrical point of view, main effects of the treatments on microbial, plant and animal cells, techniques and procedures to investigate electroporation and the most recent applications of PEF in the food industry will be presented by experts in the field. Lectures will be complemented with laboratory practical sessions, pilot plant demonstrations and short presentations of activities conducted by participants. The course will offer the opportunity of promoting networking and communication between young scientists, experts and industrial partners interested in this attractive technology.