Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Changes during Processing

Changes during Processing
The epoch making discovery of fire by human unleashed their innovative capabilities in many directions both beneficial and destructive yet the most important application that revolutionized the lifestyle of human beings and in no small measure contributed to their health and welfare is the thermal treatment of food.

Humans have learnt to cook, to broil, to steam, to bake, to roast, to fry, to smoke and to barbeque food on burning coal, wood or oil, transmitting heat through metal surface contact, by convection, by radiation, using steam or gas or fluids.

To these can be added in modern times, to pasteurize (UHT) treatments heating with infrared, microwave and ohmic heating.

Each of these treatments can transform raw food commodities into speciality appetizing products with distinctive texture, taste, flavour and aroma.

Along with these culinary inputs the food could be decontaminated of biohazards, such as pathogens, toxins, endogenous toxicants and anti-nutritional substances.

Its chewability and digestibility could be improved and unpalatable off taste and color eliminated or minimized.

Yet gradually some ill effects of processing on food compositions and wholesomeness started to come to light, for example the Maillard interaction between carbonyl and amino compounds and their subsequent cyclization and polymerization, caramelization reactions that lead to the formation of heterocyclic compounds, polycyclic aromatic molecules, nitrosamine and such other toxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic molecules during processing.

Although these are known to be produced in trace quantities the consumer has become aware of the lurking danger.

Possible chronic cumulative effects are yet o be assessed. New analytical techniques with increased sensitivity and specificity are needed to monitor these molecules.
Changes during Processing

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