According to Platt (2011), food science and technology entails the understanding and application of the science disciplines to device methods that can sustain quality food. He notes that a number of disciplines such as biology, physical sciences and engineering have been successfully applied in food selection, processing, preservation and packaging, a process that enhances food security and safety. He further points out that food science and technology enhances the study of physical, microbiological and chemical food components that helps in food preservation methods (Platt, 2011).
Scientifically, one is required to know the components of a given food in order to be able to develop appropriate technologies, necessary for the processing, preservation, packaging, and distribution of food. Platt (2011) notes that such technologies help in designing suitable food preservation methods, and as a result it minimizes the growth of microorganisms that can possibly cause food spoilage during the storage period. Additionally, food science and technology enhances food color and post harvest storage. It has been recently expanded to include food packaging, usually done through labeling, to ensure both the quality and security of the stored food (Platt, 2011).
The different food preservation methods entail a variety of processes that have resulted into different related food preservation industries. According to Singh (2009), such industries are based on the food science and technology that primarily address the food preservation techniques. Some of the related industries, identified by Singh, include food canning, food processing and food manufacturing that primarily address future food sustainability and security (Singh, 2009).
The write-up discusses how food science and technology have contributed to the development of food preservation. It also discusses the various food preservation methodologies engaged to enhance future food suitability and sustainability. Additionally, the write-up addresses the historical food preservation driving factors, giving a highlight of the chronology of food preservation innovations from the ancient days to the last century.
Disciplines that Drive Food Preservation Development
According to Lues & Theron (2009), the disciplines which have been playing key roles in the development of food preservation methods include biology, microbiology and genomics science. They point out that through these disciplines the food scientists and technologists are able to identify the food’s micro-organism growth content, which helps in identifying how they contribute to food spoilage and poisoning. They note that biology and microbiology science disciplines help in identifying the food pathogens and spoilage organisms that affects the food after the post harvest storage. On the other hand, genomics helps in identifying the effect of food’s genetic interaction with the organic acids that can result to food spoilage or poisoning (Lues & Theron, 2009).
Jeanty (2010) noted that chemistry science discipline has also played a significant role in the development of food preservation. The author also points out that chemistry helps in determining the chemical properties of the food that include its nutritional value, color, flavor and texture. Jeanty further acknowledges that there are different biological materials that form part of the food components, which makes them react differently especially under varying conditions. According to her, it is through food chemistry that food scientists and technologists have been able to identify various food decomposition processes that have helped them in designing suitable food preservatives (Jeanty, 2010).
Platt (2009) also identifies material science as one of the science disciplines that plays an important role in the development of food preservation. He argues that material science defines the relationship that exists between the food structure and its properties. Platt (2009) also notes that the application of material science is mainly practiced by chemists who use their knowledge to combine different molecules and materials, and that results into the synthesis of a new material. He points out that food scientists and technologists have exploited this discipline, and that enabled them to come up with long reserving food components out of the perishable food counterparts (Platt, 2011).
Another factor that has greatly contributed to the development of food preservation methods is various food nutritional demands. Ruel & Bouis (2008) noted that today’s emphasis on the effectiveness of an individual`s balanced diet has been an important element in enhancing the development and functionality of the body. Their argument was that the increase in the global population resulted into the modification of the various food components in an attempt to effectively sustain the wider population. They note that the modification of food components has particularly changed various food nutritional values. This has, in turn, resulted in the retention of such commodities in the markets (Ruel & Bouis, 2008).
On the other hand, Juliano & Canovas (2006) note that physics and engineering have enabled the establishment of the various processing and manufacturing technologies in the development of food preservation. They point out that these science disciplines have eased the synthesis and packaging of different foods, hence encouraging food preservation methods. Furthermore, they note that food engineering has improved various food processing operations which have resulted in the development of effective and efficient food chains (Juliano & Canovas, 2006).
According to Gupta (2011), the study of toxicology has also been effective in the identification of the right radiation dose to be used in the food sterilization method. He notes that food sterilization process through radiation continues to be one of the most advanced technological approaches that enhanced food preservation (Gupta, 2011).
One of the packaging instruments that have been widely used in food preservation is food canning. Singh (2009) points out that food canning methods primarily involve the processing of food and, thereafter, sealing it into airtight containers. He notes that canning, just like any other preservative methodology, entails various methods that prevent the penetration of microorganisms in the food which might result into food spoilage. The processes involved in canning include food pasteurization, boiling, sterilization and vacuum treatment (Singh, 2009).
Some food commodities normally undergo pasteurization process before they are preserved into sealed and airtight containers. According to Singh (2009), pasteurization processes involve heating of a certain food product below its boiling point. He notes that this eliminates the microorganisms that might contaminate the food. The process is mostly applicable in the milk processing. However, he notes that some microorganisms can withstand considerable high temperatures and, in such cases, food is subjected to high temperatures during a boiling process (Singh, 2009).
Another canning preservation method, identified by Singh (2009), is the vacuum packing process. He points out that in the vacuum process food, for example, nuts, is normally canned into air tight bags or bottles in a vacuum environment. This helps to prevent the effect of microorganisms that might spoil the food (Singh, 2009).
On the other hand, aseptic process has been used in food packaging, enhancing good food preservation. According to Balasubramanian & Sharma (2011), aseptic food packaging primarily involves the filling of sterile food commodities into sterile container. During the sterilization process food products are normally subject to the high pressures. This has an effect of prolonging the shelf of the products at normal temperatures. The scholars, further, point out that aseptic packaging is not only used to package sterilized products, but also non sterilized fresh products in order to prevent food contamination by microorganisms (Balasubramanian & Sharma, 2011).
Direct Treatment of Food under Preservation Methodology
According to Singh (2009), various food products are preserved under various temperature conditions. He points out that the effect of food temperature on microorganisms plays a key role in designing what food preservation methodology to employ. He notes that pasteurization processing method, for example, employs heat content that prevents bacterial infection. On the other hand, he points out that during preservation high temperature is normally directed to some food products under high pressure, during preservation to avoid the infection of microorganisms that can withstand certain temperatures (Singh, 2009).
Singh (2009) also points out that mostly during food processing and manufacturing processes, food addictive substances are normally used. He argues that these food addictives, in most cases, do not add nutritional value to the food product but are mostly used as agents for food preservation, coloring and food flavoring. However, food addictives are essential, as it is normally used not only to attract customers but also to prolong the shelf life of most food products. He points out that most of the soft drinks processing industries normally use food addictive substances in preserving their food product’s contents (Singh, 2009).
As mentioned earlier, food preservation methodology entails various direct food processing and manufacturing processes. According to Singh (2009), some of the direct food treatment processes, entailed during food preservation, include food pasteurization, sterilization and freezing that enhance good preservation methods (Singh, 2009).
Tools of Preservation
One of the tools that have been widely used in food preservation is refrigeration. Refrigerator normally has either ammonia or chlorofluorocarbon gas that allows the cooling effect to take place. Brain (2008) noted out that refrigeration enables most foods to be subjected to low temperatures below 4° C. This slows down the microorganism’s actions, hence prolonging the shelf life of products. The argument is that at lower temperatures there is reduction of microorganism’s growth rate, thus, reducing its effect on the food products through reducing both physical and chemical reactions. He points out that refrigeration has been used to preserve fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products among others (Brain, 2008).
Driving Factors for Food Preservation Innovation
Allen (2007) identifies the community building and sustenance as one of the driving factors that has enabled the innovation of food preservation techniques. She notes that the community is expanding in such areas as building design and structural development, science and technology development, population and economic dependency. According to the author, these factors played important roles in creating food awareness and sustainability. For instance, she points out that the community structural building has resulted in the innovation of modern food preservation methods, like refrigeration, presently used for food sustainability (Allen, 2007).
However, Allen (2007) points out that community building has a negative impact on the environment due to the growth in the population. She points out that communities expand and advance their structures to accommodate the increased population growth which have resulted into food insecurity. In addressing the resulting food insecurity, most of communities have used various food preservation techniques (Allen, 2007).
Another factor that plays an important role in the innovation of food preservation techniques is mobility. Allen (2007) points out that it is the varying nature of the people’s daily activities, from the work related to social activities like sports, which has acted as the driving factor for food preservation. They range from work related to social activities like sports. For instance, she notes that people tend to take charge of their food system, especially at work or in social sites. It is witnessed as people continuously pack their lunch which requires further preservation, using such methods as food canning and refrigeration (Allen, 2007).
Allen (2007) notes that the low family income that cannot adequately sustain its travelling expenses and hotel meals influences the fact that most of such families prefer packed food. For instance, she points out that casual workers normally carry packed food to their work places, since they are unable to afford most of the hotel foods. She notes that this has led to the innovation of food preservation methods that not only address the food safety but also its affordability (Allen, 2007).
According to Allen (2007), another factor that has resulted in the innovation of food preservation techniques is its convenience. She points out that the limited availability of food product to the consumer at a convenient price and time has resulted into the innovation of food preservation methods. She points that most of the families use various preservation methods to avoid daily food purchasing. She points out that the family’s preference for monthly food purchasing and storage has promoted the development of food preservation methods (Allen, 2007).
Additionally, Allen (2007) points out that the demand for food commodities in some occasions like wedding has resulted in the innovation of food preservation methods. She points out that most of these events have huge food commodities` demand which require early purchasing and efficient food storage facilities. She notes that this has led to the innovation of convenient food preservation techniques (Allen, 2007).
Glonaty & Edlin (2009) also identify the need for maintenance of health as one of the driving factors that has contributed to the innovation of food preservation techniques. They illustrate that human growth and development encounter different stages that require different food entities to improve their health and well-being. This is the same to most of food scientists and technologists who devised various food preservation methods in an effort to maintain the quality of food over a long period of time. Glonaty & Edlin (2009) point out that these preservation methods prevent food contamination, thus, maintaining the food nutrients, which is essential for individual’s health (Glonaty & Edlin, 2009).
Glonary & Edlin (2009) point out that the evident innovation of food preservation techniques has been contributed by the impact of these processes in preventing health decline. They note that the primary objective of food preservation techniques is to maintain the quality of the food by preventing the food from being contaminated. According to Singh (2009) preservation methods also prevent food spoilage and poisoning and, thus, secure people from diseases that might affect their lives (Glonaty & Edlin, 2009).