For some time, a research team at the Food Technology Department at the Lund University has done research centered on freezing and storing various foods. One important discovery led to a patent application in 2008. The research team found that products normally unable to bear freezing, could indeed be frozen by combining electroporation, pressure and vacuum impregnation in a bath with sugars.
Electroporation, or PEF, is a technology which can be used to temporarily create pores in plant cells. During the impregnation, these pores are used for the infusion of selected sugars. These natural substances will prevent the ice crystals from growing and bursting the cells. By examining the cells using a specific coloring technique, the scientists were able to determine that the cells were intact, i.e. undamaged. The cells were still “alive” and active, just as in the fresh material.
Since starting the operations, the main focus has been to further develop the freezing technique. The ambition has been to push the development towards commercially viable products, and to find suitable actors with whom to cooperate. Another important issue has been to identify the proper entry level products; products with a clear added value, and for which there is a clear producer and consumer demand. In connection with establishing the company, the patent rights as well as the patent application was transferred from the inventors and the research team to OptiFreeze AB.
The work of the research team has been noted in various ways. For instance, the team has received EU support, the work was noted in connection with various presentations, and has also resulted in several scientific dissertations and publications.