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Microwave (and RF) Heating in Food

Processing Applications
Juming Tang, Ph.D.
Professor of Food Engineering

Department of Biological Systems Engineering
Washington State University, Pullman WA

1. Microwave and Radio Frequency (RF)
Heating Principles
2. Established Applications in Food
3. Development of Microwave Sterilization
Technology for Pre-packaged Foods


Electromagnetic Spectrum

The wavelength


l = c/f

with c = 3.108m/s


13.56 MHz(+/- 0.05%)

 915 MHz

 27.12 MHz (+/- 0.6%)

2450 MHz Domestic Ovens

 40.68 MHz (+/- 0.05%)

10 – 12 – 18 GHz (plasma)

Very restricted bands
Can be used for ISM

•Generation of microwave •Magnetron .

•Waveguide •Magnetron •Microwave cavity (applicator) •Domestic Microwave Oven (2450 MHz) .


Microwave Cooking of Meat Patties (APV system) .

RF Heating Systems Food .

Plate Electrodes in RF Heater .

UK .typical up to 85 kW per module Food Dryer Source: Strayfield.Industrial Applications of RF Technology .

Dielectric heating of foods .Product temperature in electromagnetic field: T C p = 5.Dielectric property: Dielectric constant .Contributions of dipole rotation and ionic conduction: .563 10 11 f E 2 '' t Loss factor .

4295 GHz. •(Chan and Reader. 2000) .Multi-mode Systems •Electric field pattern for a loaded microwave cavity at 2.

Single . 915 MHz (adopted from Regier and Schubert) .mode Systems TM010 cavity resonator.

How Does RF or Microwaves Heat Foods? Alternating Electric field Space charge polarization Orientation polarization .

New York MW . 2002.Mechanism of Dielectric Heating RF Ref: Tang et al.. Scientific Press.

J. Microwaves .Penetration Depth (mm) RF Ref: Wang et al.. Food Eng. 57: 257-268.2003.

Reduced process times -.Better quality -. Industrial Microwave (MW) and Radio Frequency (RF) Technologies -.2.New products? .

MW COOKING DESSERTS Cooking of desserts in pots Microwave Tunnel 22 000 Pots / hour Power : 144 KW. .

cardboard) that has been previously pierced. Opening limit : 10 mbar  3 mbar Closing limit : 5 mbar  2 bars .MW COOKING/PASTEURIZATION OF VEGS Nutripack (a French Company) solution with valve Valvo-PackTM The valve allows a thermal treatment and the cooling of the product in the packing without counter-pressure. metal. paper. cover…) of a packing (plastic. The valve is adhesive and is installed on the upper part (heat sealing film.

Both solutions (for pasteurised and unpasteurised foods respectively) use a valve that offers several benefits for both the producer and the consumer. Sweden From their website: •http://www. The MicVac method is based on the principle of cooking and pasteurising food using microwaves directly in the sealed consumer package. releasing the overpressure in the form of steam and MicVac develops. . The film cover on the package has a valve that opens during cooking. markets and sells two methods for processing and packaging convenience food. the valve closes and a natural vacuum is created in the package – another of the product’s many advantages.•A similar concept developed by MicVac. After cooking.micvac.


Wokingham, UK

RF Finish Drying of Bakery Products

50kW RF Post Baking Unit - Courtesy of Fox’s Biscuits, UK

Moisture profile at exit of an industrial bakery
oven, and after RF drying for 5 mins

Moisture % BDW

Before RF

After RF

At Packing

Working Side


Non-working Side

RF Post-Baking
Virtually Eliminates

Sponge Products • Reduces Mold Spores • Increases Shelf Life • Increases Production .

• Appetisers snack • Meringue •Puff pastry •Breakfast cereal •Bread crouton •Sponge product •Pretzel •Short bread •Profiterole RF DRYING OF BAKERY PRODUCTS .

Canada) Arnotts (Australia/ New Zealand/ Indonesia National Biscuits (S.Africa) Safeway (USA) Ferrero (Italy) Dancake (Portugal) Ulker (Turkey) Pepperidge Farms (USA) M&M Mars (USA) • • • • • • • • • • • • Parle (India) Britannia (India) Crown (Korea) Horizon Biscuits (UK) United Biscuits/Danone (Lu – France. Bagley Argentina) Tong Yang (Korea) Morinaga (Japan) Dare Foods (Canada/USA) Barilla (Italy) ETI (Turkey) Ralston Purina (Bremner) (USA) Griffin (New Zealand) Approximately 500 RF food processing systems sold over 37 years .Manufacturers using RF Heating and Drying • • • • • • • • • • • • • Kraft (Nabisco) (USA) United Biscuits (UK) Kelloggs (Keebler) (USA) Fox’s Biscuits (UK) Weetabix (UK.

Development of Microwave Sterilization Technology for Pre-packaged foods (~50 years) All past MW sterilization systems used 2450 MHz .3.

Conventional Retorting Relies on Heat Convection and Conduction in Foods Retort Convection Target: C. botulinum spores .

A Multi-mode 2450 MHz Microwave Cavity 2450 MHz microwave heating system for food in plastic pouches at US Army Natick Soldier Center in 1970 .

• Microwave pasteurization equipment with module open to show alternating placement of magnetrons (Berstoff. 1992) .

1992) .Microwave pasteurization line for prepared meals (Berstoff.

1992) .5 bar.OMAC.Microwave sterilization unit with external covering removed (overpressure of 2.

Continuous microwave sterilization system (OMAC. 1992) .

Otsuka plant in Japan (2008) .




TOP’S FOODS Olen. Belgium (2000) .

The 2nd generation Microwave Sterilization System2000 .

2004 .•The 3d Generation of Microwave Technology at Tops Foods.

Sterilized products produced by TOPS Foods .

MW pasteurized. processed to 80C shelf-life 35 days at 7C MW sterilized. shelf-life 1 year at room temperature .

Research on Microwave Sterilization Technologies at Washington State University .4.

Technology/systems to provide stable electromagnetic field patterns with high energy efficiency Single –mode. High quality foods 4. FDA Approval Stability of system and processes Scientific base/means for process development Food Safety 3. Engineering and Scientific Challenges in Developing MW Sterilization Processes 1. high coupling efficiency 2. Scaling-up and economic viability .4.

CA Ocean Beauty Seafood Inc. MO Graphic Packaging. MN Masterfoods (MARS USA). WA Technical Consultant: NPA Supported by DoD DUST Program and US Army Natick Soldier Center .MW STERILIZATION CONSOTIUM (2001-) Washington State University Microwave Company: Ferrite Component. CO Food Processing Companies: Kraft Foods.. NH Food Packaging Companies: Rexam Container. ILL Hormel.

Development of Microwave Sterilization Technology Computer simulation System development Microbial studies Process development FDA Approval Scaling-up Industrial implementation .

0 phase shift cavity waveguide .

WSU 915 MHz Single-Mode 10 kW Pilot Scale Sterilization System (2001-2008) .

M-2 Kinetics Fo vs M-2 yield relationship Checking repeatability of hot and cold spots with different tray sizes and level of salt Identification of cold/ hot location For different tray size.Steps involved in identification of cold and hot spots with mashed potato sample Computer vision to measure M-2 color of processed trays. Verification of location Using fiber optics probes .

00 10.4 min. 2003 (Run-1) 140 circulating water tempture 120 parameters 100 80 temperature of salmon 60 40 MW heating: 2.77 min heating time (steam at 247 F) MW sterilization of salmon April 15.00 4.00 2.4 20 0 0.00 time [min] 8.00 6.00 .00 12. F0=8. Total processing time: 10 min.

Change of Shear Force in Pink Salmon Fillet Heated at 121˚C 170 Shear force (N) 150 130 110 90 70 50 30 0 20 40 60 80 Cooking time (min) 100 120 140 .

Eggs .

Mashed Potato .

Microwave sterilized salmon and fried rice .

water temp=121 C Process time (min) Max cook value Min Cook value Ideal Retort 6 33+4 39 212 39 93 Microwave 9+4 58 50 •C values for food in a 10 oz tray after a F0=6 process.•Maximum and minimum C values for food in a 10 oz tray after • a F0=6 process.4 Retort 27+4 Microwave 3.9+4 Max cook value Min Cook value 22 22 279 78 36 32 56 . water temp =125 C Process time (min) Ideal 2.

Sensory and self-life studies at US Army Natick Soldier Center 50 trays chicken were produced for Natick in January 2004 – Chicken product: Natick evaluation. shelve study and taste panels .

OVERALL Acceptability o Averages over 6 months storage at 100 F 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 y = -0.7086 R = 0.Hedonic score (1-9 scale) Chicken Breast.6015 (Microw ave) 2 y = -0.0796x + 6.4943 R2 = 0.946 (Retort) Microwave Retort 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Months in 100o F Storage 7 Linear (Microwave) Linear (Retort) .0865x + 5.

WSU 2nd generation system developed for FDA approval . 40 kW max MW power .four single mode cavities.

new markets For more information processes .Potential applications for microwave sterilization/pasteurization technologies products .

Successful development of new applications requires extensive R&D efforts based on good understanding of MW and RF heating principles and the systems.MW and RF Technologies are much more complicated than conventional methods. Pilot-scale studies are necessary for scaling up to industrial processes .

Thank You .