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Sensors 2017, 17(6), 1309; doi:10.3390/s17061309

A Novel Technique for Sterilization Using a Power Self-Regulated Single-Mode Microwave Cavity

1
Department of Information and Communication Technologies, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Plaza del Hospital, 1, 30202 Cartagena (Murcia), Spain
2
Department of Food Engineering and Agricultural Equipment, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Paseo Alfonso XIII, 48, 30203 Cartagena (Murcia), Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vittorio M. N. Passaro
Received: 25 April 2017 / Revised: 31 May 2017 / Accepted: 2 June 2017 / Published: 7 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [4881 KB, uploaded 7 June 2017]   |  

Abstract

In this paper, a novel technique to achieve precise temperatures in food sterilization has been proposed. An accurate temperature profile is needed in order to reach a commitment between the total removal of pathogens inside the product and the preservation of nutritional and organoleptic characteristics. The minimal variation of the target temperature in the sample by means of a monitoring and control software platform, allowing temperature stabilization over 100 °C, is the main goal of this work. A cylindrical microwave oven, under pressure conditions and continuous control of the microwave supply power as function of the final temperature inside the sample, has been designed and developed with conditions of single-mode resonance. The uniform heating in the product is achieved by means of sample movement and the self-regulated power control using the measured temperature. Finally, for testing the sterilization of food with this technology, specific biological validation based on Bacillus cereus as a biosensor of heat inactivation has been incorporated as a distribution along the sample in the experimental process to measure the colony-forming units (CFUs) for different food samples (laboratory medium, soup, or fish-based animal by-products). The obtained results allow the validation of this new technology for food sterilization with precise control of the microwave system to ensure the uniform elimination of pathogens using high temperatures. View Full-Text
Keywords: biosensors; microbiological food safety; microwave cavity; power and temperature control; sterilization; animal by-products biosensors; microbiological food safety; microwave cavity; power and temperature control; sterilization; animal by-products
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Reverte-Ors, J.D.; Pedreño-Molina, J.L.; Fernández, P.S.; Lozano-Guerrero, A.J.; Periago, P.M.; Díaz-Morcillo, A. A Novel Technique for Sterilization Using a Power Self-Regulated Single-Mode Microwave Cavity. Sensors 2017, 17, 1309.

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