Technological treatments for milk preservation

in GEMSlast year
Milk is one of the most important foods for human consumption, since it is formed by a set of essential components for nutrition, including fat matrix, nitrogenous compounds, lactose, minerals, enzymes, vitamins, among others, all these nutrients besides being beneficial to humans, is also a nutrient broth for the development of microorganisms that cause fermentation.

Design prepared by @pinedaocl with free-use image Pixabay

In this sense, at the industrial level, different operations can be applied in pasteurization plants, with the purpose of increasing the capacity to preserve its nutritional and organoleptic properties in order to offer a hygienically acceptable product. Basically there are four processes applied, the first one being clarification, in which residues or impurities from the milking process are eliminated, such as remains of grass, insects, dirt from the cow's udder, among others, through filtering, and then centrifuging, which is capable of separating the solid impurities found there, during centrifuging, the fat particles of the milk can also be separated, and in this way standardize its content, thus obtaining the milk cream.

The next process is homogenization, which seeks to subject the fat particles to a mechanical treatment in order to break them and obtain a smaller size and mix them uniformly with the liquid fraction, in search of product stability. This is a thermophilic treatment, in which the temperature of the milk is raised to 60 to 75 °C for a very short period of time, in order to eliminate most of the microbiological flora present, but not 100%; this process can be done with a kettle or with a heat exchanger.

Design prepared by @pinedaocl with free-use image tetrapak 2008

The last step in this process is sterilization, which, like pasteurization, is a thermophilic treatment; however, it seeks to eliminate as much microbial load as possible, in this process the milk is subjected to a temperature of 120 to 150 °C for approximately 20 minutes; this process is carried out with autoclaves or ultra-pasteurization equipment that allows obtaining milk with a long shelf life. The processes described above make it possible to preserve the product to be distributed in the market in a safer way from the sanitary point of view.

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It is an interesting process, I would love to read more about it. Is the process you describe for making UHT milk? What can you tell us about the packaging, is it made according to standards that also allow the product to be preserved?

Kind regards. Interesting intervention @criptoxicar. Indeed, the four processes described apply to the production of UHT milk, the difference lies in the sterilization process, which subjects the milk to high temperatures for a period of approximately 2 to 4 minutes in order to be free of any microorganism. In relation to the packaging, it must comply with the sanitary standards established in each region, it must be aseptic, airtight, made of a material that does not allow the permeability of moisture or odors and that is opaque to prevent damage by light. Thank you for your valuable time, we continue in the world of knowledge.

Interesting, at some point I thought that the packaging was part of the preservation system, but I see that it's all based on the temperature that is applied to the milk to eliminate any microorganisms, thx!

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