Processing of foods without the application of heat is termed as the non-thermal processing. The most widely used non-thermal processing techniques are high pressure processing, pulsed electric field, ultrasound, pulsed light, ultraviolet light, irradiation, oscillating magnetic field etc. As the foods are treated without heat, the foremost importance of the non-thermal processing is the maximum retention of colour, taste, appearance and nutrition content in food. The major facility in the centre is the unique equipment available for different non-thermal processing methods. The equipments and technologies available at CENTP are Cold plasma processing, ultrasound, ultraviolet and osmotic dehydration. These equipments are used by the scholars and doctoral students on various approaches to solve technical problems and challenges in food industries. Equipments on High pressure processing, pulsed electric field, pulsed light, irradiation, oscillating magnetic field are in the pipeline and will be added to this centre. The objective of this centre is to conduct research on non-thermal food processing methods to produce fresh like products with increased shelf life.
It is imperative for our nation to find solutions for issues that are related to food safety maintenance along with the elimination of food quality deterioration during processing of foods. These issues are more complex which can be addressed only with a wide knowledge and research on several processing methods. As non-thermal processing methods are the exact and inevitable solution for these safety and quality issues, intense research must be conducted to balance these issues. Being one of the nation’s best food technology institutes, National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management - Thanjavur (NIFTEM-T) is poised and has huge experience in the field of food processing to bring changes and innovation in this area of research.
The proposed Centre of Excellence in Non-Thermal Processing of Foods aims to increase the shelf life and improve the characteristics of foods using non-thermal techniques through research, education, outreach and policy development. This centre will be focused on exploring the food safety, food nutrient maintenance, food quality retention and food property modification.