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Research groups of the Institute of Food Process Engineering

 

Emulsification & Dispersion Technologies

The term "emulsification technique" generally refers to the disintegration of liquid or solid phases in a liquid and is thus the process for the preparation of a dispersion (emulsion or suspension).

Emulsification technology attends humanity for many generations, for example in the production of creams or sauces, often using simple equipment such as spoons. However, the production of dispersions with technical equipment such as high-pressure homogenizers only became possible since industrialization. Today, these processes are widely used in technical processes.

The focus of current research at our institute is a deeper understanding of the basic processes involved in dispersing. With this understanding, both innovative products and more efficient and simpler processes are developed and implemented with industrial partners.

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Design of Efficient Drying and Freezing Processes

The working group deals with various thermophysical processes of food processing. These are in particular methods of preserving food, such as drying and freezing. The research concentrates on the targeted design of product properties with efficient use of resources (raw materials, water, energy ...). The product properties (shelf life, sensors, redispersibility ...) are usually determined by the microstructure of the products, such as particle size distribution or porosity. Again, these microstructures can often be influenced and controlled by the manufacturing process. The exploration of these relationships, which are also referred to as a property and process function, represents the core area of the work.

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Extrusion of Biopolymeric Materials

Recent trends in food extrusion technology and research have been mainly directed to the development of sustainable and functional foods, which address the increased consumer awareness of the role of food products and processes on environment, health, and well–being. Extrusion technology offers the flexibility to process a wide range of raw materials to desired product characteristics and functional properties. However, although the history of food extrusion processing goes back to the late-1800s, the control of this process and design of new extruded products are still mostly based on empirical knowledge.

In our research group, we work on developing an approach and tools which may practically enable the food research to analyze the extrusion processing at a mechanistic level and characterize the decisive process parameters crucial for complex food design and scale-up purposes. Furthermore, we use these research-tool-kits to develop strategies on delivering sustainability and functionality into complex foods and biopolymeric systems.

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