Pulsed electric field treatment for preservation of Chlorella suspensions and retention of gelling capacity

Cora De Gol, Ailsa Moodycliffe, Heidy M.W. den Besten, Marcel H. Zwietering, Michael Beyrer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Pulsed electric field (PEF) processing has emerged as an alternative to thermal pasteurization for the shelf-life extension of heat-sensitive liquids at industrial scale. It offers the advantage of minimal alteration in physicochemical characteristics and functional properties. In this study, a pilot-scale continuous PEF processing (Toutlet < 55 °C) was applied to microalgae Chlorella vulgaris (Cv) suspensions (pH = 6.5), which was proposed as a functional ingredient for plant-based foods. Cv suspensions were inoculated with three distinct food spoilage microorganisms (Pseudomonas guariconensis, Enterobacter soli and Lactococcus lactis), isolated from the Cv biomass. PEF treatments were applied with varying electric field strength Eel of 16 to 28 kV/cm, pulse repetition rate f of 100 to 140 Hz, with a pulse width τ of 20 μs and an inlet product temperature Tin of 30 °C. The aim was to evaluate the PEF-induced microbial reduction and monitor the microbial outgrowth during a 10-day cold storage period (10 °C). Maximum inactivation of 4.1, 3.7 and 3.6 logs was achieved (28 kV/cm and 120 Hz) for the investigated isolates, respectively. Under these conditions, the critical electric field strengths Ecrit, above which inactivation was observed, ranged from 22.6 to 24.6 kV/cm. Moreover, repeated PEF treatment resulted in similar inactivation efficiency, indicating its potential to enhance shelf-life further.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114154
JournalFood Research International
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • Food quality
  • Inactivation kinetics
  • Microalgae
  • Non-thermal processing
  • Shelf-life
  • Spoilage


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