UHT Theory LTH | Sterilization (Microbiology) | Milk

Tetra Pak

UHT technology Seminar LTH

PSD.TPD&B.BP.1.01, AA10

Presented by
Andrzej Holanowski, PhD
Senior Dairy Technologist Tetra Pak Dairy & Beverage Systems AB Lund, Sweden
PSD.TPD&B.BP.1.01, AA10

Aseptic processing
on ta in er C

Aseptic environment


Pr u od ct


Filling & sealing

Aseptically packaged product
PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.04, AA10

UHT – definitions
A process applied to a product with the object of destroying all microorganisms (by heat treatment at a temperature exceeding 100°C)

Condition in which living cells are absent or killed

Equipment used for sterilisation: autoclave, hydrostatic steriliser or aseptic processing plant

Commercial sterility
Product which is free from micro-organisms that can grow and contribute to its deterioration (Not absolutely sterile)

Conditions to prevent bacteriological contamination
PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.01, AA10

Long-life products
Low-acid pH >4.5
milk products, tea, coffee, liquid food products containing vegetables

High-acid pH <4.5
juices, fermented milk products, fruit products
PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.07, AA10

UHT – what do we need to achieve ?
In low acid foods (specifically milk):
Required bacteriological effect expressed as:
- Reduction of Clostridium botulinum spores to the level of 10-12 or 1 of initial 1012 survives - public health requirement (12D reduction or Fo= 3 process) - Reduction of thermophilic spores by minimum 9D (B*>1) guarantying “commercially sterile” product

Minimised chemical changes expressed as:
- Decomposition of thamin (vit. B1) less than 3% (C*<1) - Lactulose value <600 mg/l - undenaturated ß-Lactoglobulin >50 mg/l

PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.01, AA10

UHT – what do we need to achieve ?
In low acid foods (specifically milk):
Biochemical stability expressed as:
- Maximal reduction of enzymatic activities in the heat treated product

Physical and chemical stability:
- No phase separation (fat, proteins, serum) - No sedimentation

PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.01, AA10

Raw milk quality
for processability: pH 6.65-6.80 alcohol stability >75% total Count of bacteria for sterility level: limit of heat resistant spores
PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.17, AA10

Classification of bacteria by temperature preference
45 °C

20 °C

7 °C

PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.18, AA10

Bacterial formation of spores
1 Viable bacterium 2 Nuclear content gathered (at bad growing conditions)



3 A thick wall is formed around the nucleus (the spore) 4 The cell decomposes and the spore is liberated


5 The spore is free



6 At favourable conditions the membrane of the spore bursts and a new cell will be formed
No. TP70:68, 9311BM

Commercial sterility
The commercially sterile product must:
– Keep without deterioration, stable and good commercial value during storage – Free from micro-organisms and toxins harmful to the health of consumers – Free from any micro-organisms liable to proliferate during storage

PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.03, AA10

Legislation and suggestions for heat treated milk products
Heat treatment >135°C and >1 s
(Council directive 92/46/EEC)

Lactulose* >600 mg/l or ß-Lactoglobulin* <50 mg/l
(*IDF and ECC suggestions)


Lactulose* <600 mg/l ß-Lactoglobulin* >50 mg/l
(*IDF and ECC suggestions)

PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.05, AA10

Heat treatments – definitions
Thermisation Pasteurisation 63–65°C/15 sec 63°C/30 min Preliminary heating Pasteur's method rare today (batch pasteurisation)

Heat treatment — Chilled distributed products
HTST pasteurisation HTST pasteurisation HTST pasteurisation Ultra pasteurisation UHT Conventional sterilisation 72–75°C/15 sec 85–90°C/2–5 sec 90–120°C/2–5 sec 125–138°C/2–4 sec 135–150°C/4–15 sec approx. 116°C/20 min Milk Cream Fermented products Cold storage Ambient storage Ambient storage
PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.06, AA10

Ambient distributed products

HTST = high temperature – short time, UHT = ultra high temperature

Definition of D-value
D-value (decimal reduction time) is the time at a specific temperature necessary to reduce the number of micro-organisms to 1/10 of the original value
Number of micro-organisms 105 104 103 102 101 100 10-1 10-2

Micro-organisms D121 °C B. cereus Cl. botulinum. B. stearothermophilus 2.3 sec. 12.25 sec. 408 sec.
e = nt ta ns co r tu

m te ra pe

D time, t
PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.09, AA10

Rate of thermal death of micro-organisms at high temperatures depends on:
Type of micro-organism
vegetative bacteria (high) viruses (medium) endospores (law)

Medium surrounding micro-organisms
pH, water activity (aw), concentration and type of food components i.e. (simple carbohydrates, fats, chemical ions, type of acid and )

PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.01, AA10

Absolute sterility not possible
N Bacteria

– Logarithmic destruction – Time/temperature would be too drastic – Not possible to prove by random testing – Not possible to prove sterility (prove absence)

t Time
PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.02, AA10

Definition of z-value
z-value is the increase in temperature, necessary to obtain the same lethal action or the same effect in 1/10 of time
time, t [s] 103 102 101 100 10-1

Temperature dependance z-value [°C] B. stearothermophilus 10.5 Colour changes 29.0 Losses of vitamin B1 31.2 Losses of lysine 30.9
PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.10, AA10

Definition of F-value

t Fo = 60

. 10

(T – 121.1) z

t = heating time, seconds T = heating temperature, °C z = the increase in temperature necessary to obtain the same effect in one tenth of the time.

Fo = 1 when heated one minute at 121.1°C

PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.11, AA10

Definition of B*-value

t . B* = 10 10.1

(T – 135) 10.5

Assumption: Commercial sterility is achieved at B* = 1
(heat treatment at 135 °C for 10.1 sec., z = 10.5)

= reduction of thermophilic spores = 109

PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.12, AA10

Definition of C*-value

t . C* = 10 30.5

(T – 135) 31.4

C* = 1 = heat treatment at 135°C for 30.5 sec. and z = 31.4°C = 3% destruction of thiamine
PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.13, AA10

UHT treatment
Time-temperature combinations needed for destruction of spores
Heating time or equivalent heating time, S

Region of in-container sterilisation
90% Ps -L

2000 1000 400 200 100 40 20 10 4 2 1 110 120
3% D

ipa s


tiva no d tion i sco est o t e l o ruc as e tion inac uration tiva of t tion h ia min 1% e Des truc tion o f ly s


Ps-p r

e-a c


Mesophilic spores 30oC Thermophilic spores 55oC

UHT region

150 Temperature oC
PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.08, AA10



Heat effects
Decimal reduction time, sec 10 6 Bacteriological destruction 10 5 Enzyme inactivation 10

Chemical destruction



Temp, °C 110 120 130
No. TP70:38, 9305BM

Heat effects
°C minutes (z=10°C)


Time 360 45 14 5 5


seconds (z=31.4 °C)


121 130 135 140 141

6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 8.3

4.23 1.02 0.46 0.24 0.25
PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.14, AA10

PSD.TPD&B.PEH.6.09, AA10

UHT – Ultra High Temperature processes
Continuous processes
Temp 150° Direct UHT Indirect UHT Temp °F 300°

Batch sterilisation in container
Temp °C Temp °F

Continuous processes

100° 200° Pasteurisation

50° 100°




Minutes PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.16, AA10

Shelf-life of milk
“The time the product can be stored before the quality falls below an acceptable and minimum level” Subjective criteria:
– – – – Taste Colour Smell Gelation – Sedimentation – Fat separation – Viscosity

PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.19, AA10

Factors influencing shelf-life
Quality of raw product (chemical and microbiological) Pretreatment process Type of aseptic processing system used Homogenisation/deaeration Post heat treatment contamination non-sterile Aseptic packaging Barrier properties of packaging material
PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.20, AA10

Main factors affecting the flavour of UHT milk
Milk quality Type and severity of heat treatment Packaging material Storage temperature and time

PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.21, AA10

Sensoric changes in UHT milk
Duration of storage (week)
Off flavour Sulfur Cooked Metal Stale Rancid/Bitter






12 14
5 °C

Optimum Sulfur Cooked Metal Stale Rancid/Bitter
Source: Blanc

25 °C


No. TP70:61, 9311BM

Sensory Quality of UHT Milk Heated Flavour - four notes
Cooked, Sulfurous, Cabbagey Various sulfur compounds Rich, Heated,UHT, Keton-like Products of Maillard reaction Caramelized, Sterilized Non-enzimatic browning Scorched, Burned Burn-on heating suffaces

Sensory Quality of UHT Milk Heated Flavour
The cooked flavour appears immediately after UHT treatment and is reduced during storage with rate dependant on availability of oxygen an temperature of storage.


Sensory Quality of UHT Milk Stale and Oxidized flavour
Stale Aldehydes from autooxidation of fat Ketons, Propanal N-Pentanal N-Hexanal Brownning reactions

Oxidized, Flat Bland Chalky Cardbordy

Sensory Quality of UHT Milk Stale and Oxidized flavour
Stale and oxidized flavour develops during storage while the cooked flavour is disappearing. It depends on a large number of different compounds. Aldehydes and ketons play the major role. Formation of oxidised flavour is accelerated by high storage temperature.

Sensory Quality of UHT Milk Other off-flavours
Bitter flavour Proteolitic activities of plasmin and bacterial thermoresistant proteases. Lipolitic activities of native and bacterial lipases.


Lactose and heat effects
Lactulose Acetaldehyde Formaldehyde Formic acid pH drop Acetic acid Lactic acid Tartaric acid Maillard reactions products brown colour antioxydents
No. TP70:49, 9309BM

Loss of vitamins in UHT milk
Ascorbic acid Folic acid B12 B6 B2 (riboflavine) Thiamine A D E

Losses by (%) UHT Ambient Sensitivity to treatment storage Light Oxygen
0–80 10–20 0–30 0–20 <10 <10 Very low Very low Very low Up to 100 Up to 100 Up to 100 15–20 10 – – – – +++ + +++ ++ – – –

Antioxidant AA-antioxidant

Pyridoxine-fortification Light-induced flavour

Higher degradation in fortified products
PSD.TPD&B.BP.2.22, AA10

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