But silk can preserve biological material, so Marelli and his team decided to try it out on these nitrogen-fixing bacteria, known as rhizobacteria. The silk, bacteria, and trehalose were all suspended in water, and the researchers simply soaked the seeds in the solution for a few seconds to produce an even coating. The resulting plants, helped by ongoing fertilizer production by the bacteria, developed in better health than those from untreated seeds and grew successfully in soil from fields that are presently not productive for agriculture, Marelli says.
In practice, such coatings could be applied to the seeds by either dipping or spray coating, the researchers say. Either process can be done at ordinary ambient temperature and pressure.
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But the coating nevertheless provides enough protection and nutrients to allow the seeds to germinate in soil with a salinity level that would ordinarily prevent their normal growth. One way to accomplish that might be to modify the DNA of the bacteria, plants, or both, he says, but that may not be necessary.
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Even if limited to legume crops, the method could still make a significant difference to regions with large areas of saline soil. As a next step, the researchers are working on developing new coatings that could not only protect seeds from saline soil, but also make them more resistant to drought, using coatings that absorb water from the soil. Meanwhile, next year they will begin test plantings out in open experimental fields in Morocco; their previous plantings have been done indoors under more controlled conditions.
Coated seeds may enable agriculture on marginal lands
MIT researchers have developed a protective coating to help seeds grow in currently unusable soil, reports Kristin Toussaint for Fast Company. Benedetto Marelli. MIT News Office. Browse or. Browse Most Popular.
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Therefore HP treatment offers numerous other interesting food applications such as food structure engineering Knorr, ; Rumpold, ; Diels et al. In industrial scale HP units consist of a horizontal high pressure vessel and an external pressure generating device. The simplest practical system of such an intensifier is a single-acting, hydraulically driven pump.
For the HP treatment, the packed food is deposed in carrier and automatically loaded into the HP vessel and the vessel plugs are closed. The pressure transmitting media, usually water, is pumped into the vessel from one or both sides.
After reaching the wanted maximum pressure the pumping is stopped and in ideal case no further energy input is needed to hold the pressure during dwell time. In contrast to thermal process where temperature gradients occur, all molecules in the high pressure vessel are subjected to the same amount of pressure at exactly the same time, due to the isostatic principle of pressure transmission Rastogi et al.
Combined HP and heat treatments can result in a sterilized food product with reduced thermal load and consequently higher nutritional quality and functionalities Mathys et al. The application of sub SubCW - and supercritical water SCW has been attracting worldwide attention due to the unique properties of water as a reaction medium at elevated pressures and temperatures Mathys et al. Hence, SCW acts as a non-polar solvent with excellent transport properties and high diffusivity Franck, ; He et al.
If this process is conducted below the critical point of water it is denoted as hot compressed water or subcritical water process Abdelmoez et al. Due to the applied pressure, water remains in the liquid state its dielectric constant decreases water partially shift to a polar solvent and the ion product of water increases in dependence of the applied temperature. Hence, the conversion rate of many chemical reactions increases or the reactions can proceed without the addition of catalysts.
Moreover, SubCW can be used to perform very selective extraction processes of e. Furthermore, different organic pollutants and waste have been treated utilizing SubCW, including decomposition of hazardous organic material, municipal sewage sludge Goto et al. Yoshida showed that a relatively large amount of oil, organic acids, and amino acids could be extracted from fish, squid entrails meat, and cow meat and bone meal wastes using SubCW. Moreover, many useful products were extracted from wood wastes and Rogalinski presented an extensive data set about the degradation kinetics of polysaccharides to monosaccharide as a possible feedstock for bio-ethanol production.
However, due to the unique properties of SCW, it becomes also extremely active and corrosive, which is actually the biggest problem for an industrial batch or continuous application of SCW. Ultrasound is the energy generated by sound waves of frequencies above the human hearing and is roughly defined by a frequency range from 18 kHz up to 1GHz.
Ultrasonic waves are created by magnetostrictive or piezoelectric transducers, which transform electrical energy into mechanical oscillations, and transferred into the treatment medium either directly via sonotrodes or indirectly in case of ultrasonic baths. The longitudinal sound waves can be transmitted into gases, fluids or foodstuff causing cyclic compressions and rarefactions of the respective material. The bubble collapse is accompanied by high pressure and temperature peaks up to MPa and K as well as intense local shear Clark, Such high power ultrasound treatments have the potential to improve a large range of key processes in food production such as emulsification and homogenization, crystallization, mass transfer processes and heat transfer.
Furthermore, food structure can be altered leading to tissue softening or disruption and migration as well as alteration of proteins. While the majority of these processes is still optimized at laboratory scale, ultrasonic defoaming and sieving are already standard applications at industrial level. Such low energy ultrasound is used for non-destructive testing as well as for the stimulation of living cells. In terms of food safety ultrasound can contribute to higher hygienic standards in food production.
Cavitation and associated phenomena can loosen impurities and improve cleaning processes with shortened application times and reduced use of chemicals. In respect of microorganism inactivation the singular use of ultrasound is generally rated insufficient for food industry standards FDA, However, ultrasound application is rated promising in combination with other preservation processes, such as heat, mild pressure or ozone, as sonication induced cell damage leads to a higher sensitivity towards other treatments IFT, The versatile application of ultrasound in food technology and its characteristics allowing the improvement of a large variety of processes shows its potential to improve sustainability in food production.
Depending on each single application ultrasound can contribute to savings in energy or water consumption as well as in the use of chemicals and other resources. The term plasma was introduced by Irving Langmuir in Langmuir, When gas is heated sufficiently for atoms to collide with each other and displace their electrons in the process, a plasma is formed.
Since a vacuum will support liquid to gaseous phase changes in high-moisture food products, the most suitable system for food processing is an atmospheric-pressure plasma device where no extreme conditions are required, low temperatures occur. However, such lower process pressures are mainly suitable for dried food materials or packaging materials.
Atmospheric-pressure plasma is commonly generated by corona discharge, dielectric barrier discharge or plasma jet. For the treatment of non-uniformly shaped products, the application of plasma jets offers advantages due to various options regarding design and construction. Radio-frequency rf -driven plasma jets can be used for studies on treatment of food related materials.
Such a plasma source consists of a needle electrode in the centre of a ceramic nozzle and a grounded outer electrode. The gas flows between the electrodes, is ionized and then ejected from the source Brandenburg et al. The generated plasma contains chemical species, charged species, radicals, heat, and UV in different concentrations.
The concentrations of the reagents are depending on the process parameters and the gas used. To operate plasmas in this pressure regime, several generation methods are available. Most commonly used are radio frequency rf or microwave mw excited plasma sources.
Plasma technologies in food processing are not yet established, but the world of applied plasma technology is diverse e. In the last decade, concerted research efforts were expended to understand and to apply atmospheric pressure plasmas as sterilisation method. Modular and selective plasma sources were developed. These combine the technological advantages of atmospheric pressure plasmas avoidance of vacuum devices and batch processing with the flexibility and handling properties of modular devices Ehlbeck et al. This will allow us to control the effects of plasma and to design highly specified and efficient plasma processes.
The presence of UV emitting species, charged particles, and free radicals is associated with the antimicrobial effect of the plasma Moisan et al. The capability of non-thermal atmospheric plasmas to inactivate vegetative cells, including gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, yeast, fungi, biofilm formers, and endospores was shown in various studies Moreau, Recent interest is mainly focused on the inactivation efficiency of cold plasma with respect to contaminated pericarps of mangos, melons Perni et al. However, the inactivation mechanisms of different plasmas are not yet fully understood.
Depending on the plasma source, process parameters and process gases the reactive species vary within the plasma, which makes inactivation mechanisms difficult to compare. Recent research activities focus mainly on inactivation of microbes but little is known about the effect of plasma on food matrices. Since emitted reactive species do not only react with bacteria, they may also affect food components such as water, lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates Keener, Grzegorzewski et al.
Recently, a joint research project has been launched in Germany to further elucidate the effects of plasma on heat sensitive food matrices FISA database, Besides the application in food processing, progress in germ reduction technologies is important for medical and biomedical application, biotechnology, the pharmaceutical industry and the packaging industry.
The treatment of components with complex geometry demands the development of plasma sources for 3D surface treatment and of cavity-penetrating plasmas. Since energy transfer of a low-temperature plasma to a surface is small, the treatment of heat-sensitive materials is feasible. In environmental applications, plasma technologies can be applied to flue gas cleaning and can substitute wet-chemical processes that generate waste water by environmentally desirable dry processes Weltmann et al. The emerging and new technologies presented are at different stages of development with high hydrostatic pressure technology for food preservation and quality retention being the most advanced.
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Pulsed electric field applications are on the verge of industrial use. Ultrasound has some non-food safety applications and supercritical water and low temperature plasma treatment are in their developmental stage. Combinations of the above processes with either mild heat, with each other or with other means of food preservation agents e. Currently, these technologies are mainly used and developed as alternatives to conventional thermal preservation methods such as pasteurization. However, they possess a great potential for food modification purposes and are generally more sustainable technologies than conventional thermal ones.
In addition, further knowledge on mechanisms of inactivation of microorganism, enzymes, allergens, toxins, etc. Some recent attempts to re-introduce antimicrobial systems such as the use of ozone, UVC light, pulsed light or oxidized water still need to be validated regarding their feasibility and effectiveness. Despite many efforts, the application of technologies that apparently are capable of meeting the consumer requirements, only very slowly find application in the industry.
This project aims to provide a sound science base to novel technologies, to demonstrate the potential industrial applications and to create more awareness among the industry. Abdelmoez, W. AIChE, 52, Ananta, E.