Pulse Generators: How They Work, What They Do, And Why it Matters

Pulse generators are a form of food processing, where specific machines are built to produce a phenomenon known as pulsed electric fields (PEF) along with other types of electrical pulses, which are mostly used in the food industry.

PEF works by creating short bursts of electrical pulses which can help to alter food for a variety of different purposes.

Manipulating cell structure and it’s desired outcome

At its most basic use it works to break down the cell structure in foods, which can in turn release components in the food. This is used for a variety of purposes, including extracting nutrients, bioactive compounds, and flavours from raw foods.

For example, PEF can help with the brining, curing, and marination process by creating temporary microscopic holes in the food surface. This not only helps the food brine faster, it can help the flavour and ingredients sink into the food to create outstanding products on a commercial level. Speaking of brine, PEF is used to tenderise meats, where pulse generators apply electrical currents to the muscle tissue, which can improve both the consistency and the tenderness of meat.

Making food more pourous

If you’ve ever wondered how fat is reduced in food now is your chance to find out. Pulse generators can help by making food more porous, which in turn allows a reduction of fat absorption when cooking / frying. And if you’ve ever wondered how certain store bought items are so tasty now’s your chance to find out. Pulse generators help with the food preparation process on a mass scale by making temporary pores in the food matrix. This is done so that flavours and ingredients can soak into the skin, making for a tastier meal and even an easier cooking time.

PEF can also help with extracting components from food, meaning that a lot of compounds like essential oils, antioxidants, and even flavours can be removed through this process. It works by breaking down cell walls which can release these compounds from the food.

On the other hand, PEF is a method used in food processing to keep food safe through employing microbial inactivation. There are many bacterial components in foods that cause them to mould or go bad soon. This is where pulse generators come in, as they help to kill any yeasts, bacteria, and moulds in both liquids and solid foods, which can not only extend their shelf life but can also avoid getting people sick when they consume it.

Pulse generators in the food industry

A good pulse generator application should be tailored to the specific needs of the foods that you intend to process. Factors like the pulse width, pulse frequency, and voltage all make a difference on both the intended purpose and the outcome of the food. While there is ongoing research made towards the integration of PEF into food systems, investing in a pulse generator for large scale food manufacturer’s seem to be a worthwhile idea for the time being.