During its early years, STC gained a wide experience in the field of Food Processing Technology by conducting several Research and Development activities in this sector while cooperating with many different agri-food industries.
Our research laboratory (qualified by the Italian Ministry of Education and Research), has an equipped area for the experimentation and development of agro-industrial processes. In this area there are innovative pilot plants and equipment for different technological applications and solutions.
Possible fields of application are the development, the experimentation on pilot scale and the scaling-up of the following processes:
Low temperature dehydration of fruit and vegetables with heat pump technology
The process contemplates the use of a new concept dehydrator which, compared to those currently used, is able to work in conditions of low humidity and temperatures.
The dehydration plant is modular and easily adaptable. It is therefore possible to assemble tailor-made plants according to the specific requirements of the client, depending on the type of product to be dried and the requested productivity.
The plant is completely automated and supervised by PC-supervisor that allows to reduce the dehydration time and to safeguard the organoleptic features of the treated product.
An application of this technology, which nowadays arises great interest, is to be found in the production of fruit and vegetables with intermediate humidity level.
The so-called IMF or semi-dry products may be consumed without being rehydrated before use, therefore falling into the "Ready to eat" category.
technical consulting activity in the field of the national project supported by the Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico (the Italian Ministry of Economic Development): "Sviluppo di tecnologie per prodotti ortofrutticoli di IV e V gamma" (Development of technologies for fresh-cut and fruit and vegetable products)
Corigliano Calabro (CS)
Partial dehydration and stabilization of fresh pasta with radio frequencies
Traditional pasteurization, drying and packaging processes are performed in six different steps:
Steam pasteurisation – hot-air drying - cooling- packaging - pasteurisation- final cooling of the package.
STC has developed a process with radio-frequencies that reduces the production cycle to three steps:
Simultaneous pasteurisation and drying- aseptic cooling- packaging.
This new process enables the client to have:
- low production costs
- a simplified production process
- improvement of the quality and the organoleptic features of the product
STC follows the technological start-up and the training of plant personnel.
Francavilla Fontana (BR): Construction of an industrial plant for fresh pasta drying and pasteurisation.
Aradeo (LE): Construction of an industrial plant for fresh pasta drying and pasteurisation.
"Integrated process for the drying, the pasteurisation and the packaging of fresh pasta or electromagnetically stabilized pasta."
Microwave Pasteurization of ready meals
Food heating through microwaves is possible thanks to their capacity to interact with electromagnetic waves and convert them into heat.
The component which is mainly responsible for the heating is the water contained in the food. The water molecules are hit by an electric field and tend to oscillate and interact with the surrounding molecules. The kinetic energy is then transformed into thermal energy.
The ready meals made of vegetables, pasta and meat may be stabilized through the microwave technology in less time than in traditional thermal treatments. The result is a high-quality product for the catering industry or the final consumer, who may warm it up in a microwave oven and consume a nutritious and fast meal directly from the package.
Farris s.r.l. : Orsara di Puglia (FG): Consulting and research services in the POR project financed by Apulia region: Development of a new "mild" technological process for the stabilization through microwaves of vegetable-based appetizers in glass packages.
ENEA: Consulting and research services in the national PON BRIMET project: "Innovative transformation processes to obtain new products starting from high quality fruit"
Stabilization at high hydrostatic pressures
The technique of high hydrostatic pressure processing (HPP) over the last few years has been a viable alternative to conventional stabilization processes. This technique, by the application of high pressures (up to 6000 atmospheres), is able to deactivate the bacterial flora presents in foods without the use of high temperatures or chemical agents and, therefore, without affecting the initial organoleptic and visual features of the product.
The high-pressure technology can be employed to stabilize any type of product placed in a flexible package.
The final product will meet the needs of:
- Stability and microbiological and chemical safety
- High organoleptic and nutritional quality
- More extended shelf-life in time
ENEA: Consulting service in the project PON BRIMET: "Innovative processes of transformation of fruit and vegetables to obtain high quality salads "ready-to-eat”.
CNR ISPA : Bari (BA): Treatment of extra virgin olive oil with the high hydrostatic pressures
Osmotic dehydration of fruit and vegetables
The osmotic dehydration is a cold dehydration treatment that uses specific hypertonic solutions. It consists in putting pieces of fruit or vegetables in contact with saline or sugar solutions, so as to cause the leakage of water from the product and eventually an acquisition of the osmotizing solution's solutes.
The process involves two complex events: concentration and substitution. In the latter, due to the lower water content and the higher content of solutes, the "osmotized" product has special organoleptic characteristics and is generally more suitable for further treatments such as freezing.
The osmotic dehydration of fruit and vegetables in combination with the use of protective atmospheres and a refrigeration system, therefore, allows to have several advantages in the quality of the semi-dry product:
- organoleptic characteristics similar to fresh food
- high nutritional value
- microbiological stability, 30-40 day shelf-life under refrigerated conditions
- easy to use
STC, in collaboration with other research partners, has developed an innovative system of semi-continuous osmotic dehydration specifically for the production of high quality semi-dry tomatoes. This process also allows to significantly reduce energy consumption compared to traditional processing lines thanks to the recovery and recycling of specific osmotizing solutions.
Fiordelisi s.r.l.Stornarella(FG):study and design of a semi-continuous osmotic dehydration plant for the production of semi-dry tomatoes.
Separation and concentration technologies for fruit, vegetables and dairy products
Membrane separation technologies (MF, UF, NF, RO) are able to optimize the filtration and the concentration operations of liquid foodstuffs.
These technologies allow to:
- Control process parameters
- Minimize thermal damage
- Reduce energy consumption
- Reduce storage volumes
- Standardize the final product
- Stabilize the product from a microbiological and enzymatic point of view
STC has gained great experience in the application of these technologies for the treatment of fruit and vegetable juices, wine and dairy products. About fruit juices for example, it has moreover implemented an integrated process of membrane filtration (ultrafiltration) and high hydrostatic pressure stabilization to obtain stable final products characterized by high nutritional and organoleptic quality.
1348536 "Process for the production of high-quality fruit or vegetable juices "
14/04/2003 • Accepted