Applying PEF (Pulsed Electric Fields) on tomatoes

Pulsed electric field (PEF) treatment is a potential technology for preserving and processing tomato products. OptiCept is constantly researching and developing the patented PEF method CEPT. Learn more about our findings and have a look at the video in this post from our lab, where we apply PEF to tomatoes.

PEF for tomato processing

The practical use of electricity to process food is over one hundred years old. Food products, such as aceite de oliva, juices, vino, and more – are capable of transferring electricity because of the presence of ions. Giving the product in question a certain degree of electrical conductivity. PEF is showing potential for being a tomato processing technology with good leverage.

PEF is a non-thermal preservation method that uses intense, short pulses of electric field to inactivate microorganisms and enzymes in food.

Research has shown that PEF treatment can effectively inactivate microorganisms and enzymes in tomato zumo and other tomato products. It can also improve the stability and shelf life of the products. PEF treatment has been shown to be particularly effective at inactivating acid-sensitive microorganisms such as yeasts and molds.

One of the advantages of PEF treatment is that it can be used to preserve the quality and nutritional value of tomato products while also extending their shelf life. PEF has been shown to retain the red color, flavor, and nutritional value of tomatoes, and it can also help preserve the natural aromas and flavors of tomatoes.

So, what happens when you treat tomatoes with a mild PEF treatment? Have a look at the video below to learn the results:


Making tomato processing more efficient with PEF

Besides improving the quality aspects of tomato zumo and tomato products there might also be advantages when it comes to making the processing more efficient, specifically the peeling.

There are several methods for removing the skin from tomatoes when processing them. Some of the most common methods include:

  1. Blanching: This method involves immersing the tomatoes in boiling water for a few seconds, then transferring them to an ice water bath to cool. The skin will then peel off with a knife or by rubbing the tomatoes with your fingers.

  2. Steam peeling: This method involves immersing the tomatoes in a steamer for a few minutes, which will loosen the skin so that it can be removed by rubbing the tomatoes with your fingers.

  3. Chemical peeling: This method involves immersing the tomatoes in a solution of hot water and a small amount of an acidic agent, such as citric acid, for a few minutes. This weakens the skin of tomatoes and it can be removed by rubbing the tomatoes with your fingers or a brush.

  4. Mechanical peeling: This method utilizes a machine for peeling tomatoes, it uses a spinning blade to remove the skin with or without heating before, the mechanical peeler usually includes the pre-treatment for tomatoes for an easy process.

PEF (pulsed electric fields) creates pores in the cell membranes

The JÖRD system - PEF treatment for semi-solid and solid biomasses

JÖRD is the name of our PEF system for solid and semi-solid biomass. It is also used as a pre-treatment in drying processes, read more about the dryCEPT application here. The system consists of a PEF generator and a conveyor belt with a built-in PEF chamber. 


PEF system JÖRD - with potential to be a tomato processing technology

JÖRD is a complete system of modular design, build in a stainless steel frame with product-wetted parts in hygienic design all with food-grade components. All control and safety devise mounted on it including pressure and temperature sensors as well as flowmeter and conductivity indicators.

An intelligent and user-friendly HMI can handle pre-programmed recipes tailored to fit the specific application. The system is prepared for customer-based start/ stop signals or complete integration into the parent PLC system.


In conclusion, PEF shows an exciting potential for being a valuable technology in tomato processing. Are you curious to explore what impact PEF could have on your food production? Get in touch now!


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