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Extended Study on the Influence of z-Value(s) of Single and Multicomponent Time-Temperature Integrators on the Accuracy of Quantitative Thermal Process Assessment

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The possibilities and limitations of single- and multicomponent time-temperature integrators (TTIs) for evaluating the impact of thermal processes on a target food attribute with a z target value different from the z TTI value(s) of the TTI is far from sufficiently documented. In this study, several thousand time-temperature profiles were generated by heat transfer simulations based on a wide range of product and process thermal parameters and considering a z target value of 10°C and a reference temperature of 121.1°C, both currently used to assess the safety of food sterilization processes. These simulations included 15 different ztarget-10°C F 121.1°C values in the range 3 to 60 min. The integration of the time-temperature profiles with z TTI values of 5.5 to 20.5°C in steps of 1°C allowed generation of a large database containing for each combination of product and process parameters the correction factor to apply to the process value F multiTTI, which was derived from a single- or multicomponent TTI, to obtain the target process value 10°C F 121.1°C. The table and the graph results clearly demonstrated that multicomponent TTIs with z-values close to 10°C can be used as an extremely efficient approach when a single-component TTI with a z-value of 10°C is not available. In particular, a two-component TTI with z 1 and z 2 values respectively above and below the z target value (10°C in this study) would be the best option for the development of a TTI to assess the safety of sterilized foods. Whatever process and product parameters are used, such a TTI allows proper evaluation of the process value10°C F 121.1°C.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratory of Food Technology, Department of Food and Microbial Technology, Faculty of Agricultural and Applied Biological Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 23, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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