CSIRO drying technology a multimillion-dollar opportunity

CSIRO Food and Nutrition

Monday, 07 March, 2016

CSIRO drying technology a multimillion-dollar opportunity

A world-first technology, developed in Australia, and recently upgraded, could provide innovation opportunities for the food and beverage market, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Extrusion porosification technology (EPT), dries high-value, high-viscosity products, including concentrates high in fat and carbohydrate, that can’t be handled by conventional spray drying.

The functionality of EPT powders is significantly higher than spray-dried products due to their porous structure, and the lower processing temperatures retain sensitive components such as flavours and nutrients while also saving significant amounts of energy.

An EPT particle showing the revolutionary porous structure, which leads to rapid solvent diffusion and rehydration properties.

The process has been developed by French extrusion technology company Clextral, along with Australian food process company Inovo and CSIRO’s food innovation centre.

Clextral’s managing director, Melbourne-based Camille Challard, said the pilot-scale system, which had been tested at CSIRO’s food innovation centre in Werribee, Victoria, for several years, had recently undergone a six-month upgrade. She said the line now offers many advanced features and opens up product development possibilities such as temperature-sensitive and sophisticated powdered mixes with additional functional properties, all in a food-grade environment.

The line also complies with the latest hygienic and safety requirements required by the dairy industry.

EPT offers companies the possibility of creating new products and ingredients that may not be able to be made using a conventional spray-drying process; for example, new flavours, nutritional powdered beverages, bioactives and highly aromatic products.

Existing products can also benefit from the process: when processed with EPT, coffee retains more flavour and aroma compared to spray drying, and powdered dairy proteins become more soluble. These were some of the applications piloted in collaboration with Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL) through the Enterprise Solution Centre.

Australian company Flavourtech, based in regional New South Wales, is a commercialisation partner of the technology for tea and coffee globally.

The technology is expected to offer innovation opportunities in the manufacturing of foods and ingredients such as dairy powders, flavours, coffee, tea, nutraceuticals and beverages.

Image caption: The upgraded EPT line at CSIRO’s food innovation centre in Werribee, Victoria.

Originally published here.

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