Ultrasound project could boost fruit juice shelf-life

By Jerome Smail

- Last updated on GMT

The ultrasound machine has been procured as part of the €6m Horizon 2020 Shealthy project. Pic: Abertay University
The ultrasound machine has been procured as part of the €6m Horizon 2020 Shealthy project. Pic: Abertay University

Related tags Technology & Automation Drink Ingredients & nutrition Fresh produce

Food scientists at Abertay University in Dundee are using state-of-the-art ultrasound technology in a bid to significantly boost the shelf-life and quality of fruit juice and smoothies.

The ultrasound machine has been procured by the university as part of the €6m Horizon 2020 ‘Shealthy’​ project, which is assessing the effectiveness of new technologies in improving the nutritional value of fresh fruit and vegetables.

The university says it is the first device of its kind in Scotland, and it can also be used to reduce and re-utilise food waste by extracting bioactive compounds from material such as orange peel and apple pomace.

Health benefits

Dr Adilia Lemos, from Abertay’s Division of Engineering and Food Science, said: “The most common food preservation technique is pasteurisation which, while being effective, uses high temperatures meaning it affects quality.

“Ultrasound technology, on the other hand, does not. In this case, it may mean that we are able to produce healthier fruit juice and smoothies.”

Positive impact

Describing the machine as “very efficient”, Lemos hopes the findings of the research will have a “significant and positive impact on shoppers in the near future”.

The Shealthy​ project is scheduled to run for four years and involves 21 partner institutes from across Europe, including other universities, consumer groups and research centres. Abertay is the only UK institute involved in the project.

“The ultrasound device has been produced by Hielscher, one of the world leaders in that field, and we are very excited to have access to it on campus,”​ Lemos added.

“Abertay’s involvement in this international project demonstrates the quality of work and research conducted by our food scientists and our contribution to the industry, and we believe that it has the potential to make a genuine impact on the quality of food we eat.”

Industry links

Abertay’s Engineering and Food Science Division says it has “strong links with the food and drink industry”, and that the expertise of the university’s academic staff is “highly sought-after by industry and the academic community”.

It added that the division’s programmes are designed so that students have an “excellent practical grounding and are able to gain real experience of working in their chosen sectors”.

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