Analysis on irradiation and steam sterilization of herbal powders
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Analysis on irradiation and steam sterilization of herbal powders

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Analysis on irradiation and steam sterilization of herbal powders

Analysis on irradiation and steam sterilization of herbal powders

In order to ensure food safety, pre-packaged foods need to be sterilized before packaging to reduce or inhibit microbial growth. With the growth of consumer awareness in recent years, people are demanding natural, fresh, reduced or even additive-free food, and at the same time, the concept of reducing the processing and production process has emerged; in terms of sterilization, people want to avoid damage and impact on food through physical, biological and chemical methods.

Radiation sterilization

Radiation sterilization (cold sterilization) in the process of food processing, mainly the use of free radiation to irradiate food to inhibit germination, insecticide sterilization or preservative preservation purposes, and radiation exposure is divided into two categories.

  1. 1.        free radiation: higher energy, so that the material free effect, including electromagnetic radiation (γ (Gamma) rays, X-rays) and particle radiation (α, β, neutrons, high-speed electrons and high-speed protons, etc.)

  1. 2.        non-free radiation: lower energy electromagnetic waves, can not make the material free, including ultraviolet, visible light, microwave, radar, radio waves, etc.

Irradiation used on food generally refers to free radiation, there are three sources of exposure.

  1. 1)        γ-ray: issued by Co60 (cobalt 60), Cs137 (cesium 137) and other radioactive radioactive sources.

  1. 2)        Electron lines: energy below 10 MeV.

  1. 3)        X-ray: energy below 5 MeV; (electron volt eV: is a unit of energy, an electron through a volt potential difference generated by the energy, 1 MeV = 1.6 * 10 ¯¹³ Joule)

practical applications to γ-ray use is more common.

Steam sterilization

In recent years, radiation sterilization has been questioned by many groups about its safety, leading to many doubts about irradiated products in some parts of the world. As a result, some companies in their development of corporate standards clearly specify that irradiated products are not accepted.

Steam sterilization (thermal sterilization) is the use of steam, hot water as a heat transfer medium, the use of steam high-pressure jet heating will be converted into heat energy, conducted to the food, or the steam directly into the food to be sterilized, and then play the purpose of killing, sterilization and inhibition of microbial growth; but because the system of steam sterilization is to use steam as a medium to conduct heat, but also due to high-pressure conditions, with the boiling point of steam increase, the relative sterilization time will also be reduced, it becomes about 15 minutes below 121 ° C. Therefore, the conduction of the entire physical effect also indirectly causes the loss of material (see comparative analysis table for details), and therefore requires as complete an explanation as possible when communicating with the customer.\

Comparative analysis of steam sterilization and radiation sterilization:

Steam   sterilization

Radiation   sterilization

Technology Principle

Heat energy conversion using steam as a medium

Irradiation of products with free radiation

Action and temperature

High   temperature 121℃ environment

Ambient   temperature conditions

Chemical contamination

Chemical-free pollution

Chemical-free pollution

Sterilization packaging

Need to wait   for cooling down before packing

Can be   sterilized directly after pre-packaging


High energy consumption and high cost

Energy saving and low cost


Decrease in   color phase, flavor, and enzyme activity

People are   suspicious of radiation; enzyme activity is reduced

Xi'an Nature Choice Co.,Ltd factory started to study the application of steam sterilization technology in the production of raw materials and powders of Chinese herbs in 2019, and finally overcame this problem after 3 years of exploration and research and experiments on more than 80 varieties.

According to the characteristics of the roots, stems, flowers, leaves and fruits of different plants, especially products with higher sugar and oil content, the microbiological standards required for organic products in the EU and the US have been fully achieved by using steam sterilization technology.        The active ingredients of the original herbal powder are retained to the greatest extent and the processing loss is reduced; and the color change during steam sterilization is avoided through the color protection process.