3 November 2006
With the award of 2006 Seligman APV Fellowship by Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), it was my pleasure to visit renowned institutes and organisations around the UK for about six months (February to July 2006) for the purpose of study and research in the field of food engineering. During that period, I stayed at the University of Cambridge and undertook a research project with Dr Ian Wilson’s dynamic research group (powder and paste processing group) in the Department of Chemical Engineering.
My research project in Cambridge was mainly focused on the study of the swelling and cleaning characteristics of protein gels as being treated with sodium hydroxide solutions.
In the dairy sector, heat exchangers operating in the temperature range of 70-95°C experience fouling by a soft, voluminous deposit termed ‘Type A’ deposit. The main constituents of such deposits are whey proteins, which have been formed into heat-induced gels (HIG) by their thermal treatment. The study of the cleaning mechanisms of HIGs is a subject of considerable research and practical interest.
My investigations in this project featured the use of a novel Fluid Dynamic Gauging (FDG) technique to monitor the thickness of these HIGs in situ and in real time throughout the cleaning process. The microstructural changes in whey protein gel in contact with NaOH also monitored using Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM) technique.
As an outcome of this research project, an article entitled ‘Poly electrolyte screening effects on the dissolution of whey gels at high pH conditions’ has been accepted in Food Hydrocolloids. The second manuscript entitled ‘Kinetics of swelling and dissolution of protein gels’ is in preparation.
My research experience in University of Cambridge helped me to apply the FDG and CLSM techniques in the food processing sector, especially in the dairy sector for the rest of my academic career. I was able to strengthen my knowledge and skill with exposure to different food processing techniques developed in various institutes of the UK during my academic visits. It can help me for future collaboration with British Institutes and also can build a network with the experts in the UK at an international level.
In addition to the research project in University of Cambridge, I also visited other universities, food research organisations and food industries in the UK to learn new techniques and skills in the area of food engineering:
- Dr A Stapley, University of Loughborough; Spray-Freeze drying pilot plant
- Prof J Quarini, University of Bristol; Ice Pig Technology for cleaning of food processing plant and also variable volume heat exchangers
- Dr G Tucker, Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association (CCFRA); high pressure techniques in Food processing, CFD in thermal systems, hygienic design and practices in food processing plants
- Prof K Niranjan, School of Food Biosciences, University of Reading; milk pasteurization pilot plant, UHT sterilization pilot plant, Ice-cream manufacture plant, scraped surface heat exchanger, Rising Film evaporator, Aseptic filler, Dairy product manufacturing equipment (butter, cheese etc.), Fermentation unit, High pressure processing unit, Membrane separation units (RO, UF etc.)
- Mr G Byars, Weetabix Food Company; breakfast cereal processing pilot plant
- Dr S Grace, APV; plate heat exchanger manufacturing and testing unit
- ‘Fouling, Cleaning and Disinfection in Food Processing-2006 (FCD2006)’, Jesus College, Cambridge, 20-22 March 2006. In this conference, I presented a paper on ‘Simulation of Fouling behaviour in a helical triple tube UHT milk sterilizer’
- ‘Water: The essential ingredient’, Food Modelling Club, Weetwood Hall, Leeds, 18 May 2006
Pradeepta Kumar Sahoo
Bidhan Chandra Agricultural University