OptiFreeze > Technology

Technology

The OptiFreeze technology step-by-step

OptiFreeze owns a patented technology that enhances taste, shape and texture of fruit and vegetables throughout the freezing and de-freezing (thawing) process. OptiFreeze has furthermore developed a method that can improve shelf life of fresh cut fruit and vegetables. Also the shelf life of flower cuttings can be significantly improved. The same technology can be used to dry herbs, while enhancing taste, smell and colour. The technology provides new business opportunities for food processors and distributors all around the world. The cryoprotectants used in the process regenerate cells, which enhances the taste, shape, texture and shelf life.

1 We design a unique protective solution (OptiCap)

  • We mimic nature’s ability to protect some plants like winter wheat from cold damage
  • Using natural sugars and additives like vitamins we create OptiCap cartridges
  • These solutes are dissolved in water to form solutions
  • The concentration of the solution depends on the plant material and the application

2 The solution is introduced into the tissue (OptiCeptTM - VI)

  • VI (vacuum impregnation) allows for rapid impregnation of solutions with desired solutes in plant materials
  • The quantity of solution impregnated depends on the vacuum pressure and its application time
  • Plant materials are placed in their unique solution
  • The air in plant tissues is removed when pressure is applied
  • Upon release of the pressure, the solution gets into the tissues and surrounds the cells

A plant tissue contains air spaces in its structure. When the plant tissue is exposed to vacuum, the air is removed from the air spaces.

In the next step, when the pressure is increased back to the athmospheric pressure, the air spaces are filled with a desired solution e.g containing natural sugars or vitamins.

3 …and then into the cells (OptiCeptTM - PEF)

  • PEF (pulsed electric filed) is non-thermal and emerging novel treatment in plant and food processing
  • Plant materials flow between two electrodes in the OptiCeptTM system
  • Combination of electrical parameters can result in reversible permeability of the cell membrane
  • Pores are created in the cell membrane when electrical field is applied
  • Unique solution around the tissues (introduced in previous step – VI) now get into the cells through the pores in the cell membrane
  • When the electrical field is redrawn, the cell membrane reseals, and the solution is trapped in the cell

After the VI step, the cells in the plant tissue are surrounded by the solution, however the solution is not introduced into the cells yet.

When the plant tissue is placed in between two electrodes and short electical pulses are applied, small pores are created in the cell membranes.

The solution containing natural sugars enters the cells via pores in the cell membrane.

The membrane has an ability to recover after the process. It is called reversible electroporation.

The solution is now uniformly distributed inside and outside of the cells.

4The combination of VI and PEF

This result in the protective solution being distributed in the tissue and trapped in the cells. This process:

  • prevents freezing injury (OptiFreeze)
  • prolongs shelf life (OptiFresh & OptiFlower)
  • For OptiDry applications, only PEF (step 3) is applied. The PEF-induced pores in the cell membrane lead to faster drying and improved quality.