TECAL: Use of aroma compounds for beverage stabilization

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Project acronym: TECAL
Duration: July 2005- October 2007
Funded by: Italian National Project
Website: Not available

Project name: Laboratorio TECnologie e impianti per l’industria ALimentare

Sub title regarding the application described:  TECAL: Use of aroma compounds for beverage stabilization
Contacts: Fausto Gardini, University of Bologna, Department of Food Science, phone +39 051 2096575 e-mail fausto.gardini@unibo.it

1. Context and problematic

The chemico-physical and product characteristics of soft drinks make them susceptible to the growth of specific microbial groups, such as acetic and lactic acid bacteria, moulds, and yeasts. The stability of these beverages often depends on thermal treatments to which ingredients, intermediate and final products can be subjected. However, some products cannot be thermally treated (because of the thermal damage of some packaging material or the thermal degradation of flavour compounds) and their stability relies upon the addition of weak acids or other preservatives. The producers are, however, searching for alternatives to such preservatives because they are perceived by consumers as extraneous and not natural. In this scenario, aroma compounds and essential oils can be an interesting alternative, also because, used at concentrations compatible with the sensorial profile of the product, they can be associated with mild thermal treatment. In addition, the combination of essential oils or their components with a mild heat treatment can reduce the impact of the latter on the final quality.

2. Results and Applications

The study has been carried out on orange based soft drinks inoculated using a wild strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and evaluating the antimicrobial activity of three terpenes (citral, linalool and β-pinene), in combination with a mild heat treatment (55 °C, 15 min). The results, expressed as growth/no-growth data, were analyzed with the logistic regression. A model comprising only of significant individual parameters (p ≤ 0.05) and describing the relationships between terpene concentrations and the probability of having stable beverages was obtained. It can be concluded that the antimicrobial potential of the three terpenes alone can be strengthened combining appropriate concentrations of each of them. This study confirmed also the potentiating effect of a mild temperature treatment on the antimicrobial efficacy of the molecules.

3. Novelties, benefits and added value

In this framework, the combination of a mild thermal treatment with the presence of some selected aroma compounds can be an important strategy to inhibit or to delay microbial growth in many food products avoiding the problems arising from the organoleptic impact of many terpenes. Moreover also a reduction of the costs of the products can arise from the combination of these two technologies.

4. Successful applications, success stories

One of the most important Industry in the beverage field adopts this strategy to control and increase the shelf-life of its products.

More results from this project


International Journal of Food Microbiology 136 (2010) 283–289

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