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J Food Prot. 1998 May;61(5):582-5.

Inactivation of microorganisms with microwaves at reduced temperatures.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture, Eastern Regional Research Center, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA. mkozempel@arserrc.goy


We developed a pilot-plant nonthermal flow process using microwave energy to inactivate microorganisms. The process consists of multiple passes through the microwave generator. Each passed material goes to a receiving tank for subsequent passes. The flow rate was 0.96 to 1.26 kg/min and the dwell time per pass was 1.1 to 1.5 min. Five passes were used. The microwave energy is instantaneously and simultaneously applied to the system, and thermal energy is removed by a cooling tube within the process line in the microwave generator. The cooling tube maintains the temperature below 40 degrees C. There was significant reduction in microorganisms in water, 10% glucose solution, and apple juice, and in yeast in beer. There was a slight decrease in microorganisms in tomato juice, pineapple juice, apple cider, and beer; and no effect in skim milk.

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