Food processing technology

Contaminating microorganisms result in the spoilage of fresh goods and can even produce toxins and cause food poisoning. Thus foodstuffs have to be biologically stabilized as effectively as possible and filled or packed under hygienic conditions. Well-established processes for preserving foodstuffs such as heat sterilization or pasteurization frequently have the disadvantage that they destroy valuable heat-sensitive substances in the foodstuffs such as vitamins, thus reducing their nutritional value. Also, the addition of chemical preservatives can have negative effects on the quality of the product and potentially affect the consumer’s health. Besides impairing the substances contained in foodstuffs, thermal processes can also inactivate active agents in pharmaceutical products. There is therefore a need for alternative for biological stabilization methods.

The development of new methods for the biological stabilization and/or sterilization of biogenic products such as foodstuffs, cosmetics and pharmaceutical drugs is the focus of the ˝Aseptic Systems˝ working group. We are investigating various physical methods, such as microwaves or pressure change technology, for their ability to reduce microbial load. Simultaneously, their effects on valuable food components are taken into consideration.

Fields of research


Extraction and processing of intracellular metabolites with high-pressure processes

Recovering biochemicals with high economic value in algae, bacteria and yeast involves expensive downstream processing. Our approach integrates cell disruption by pressure change technology with separation of intracellular metabolites.


Stabilization of food and plant-based extracts

The development of new methods for stabilization and preservation of food, cosmetics, drugs and the like is another focus of the Aseptic Technologies working group. Various physical methods, such as microwaves or pressure change technology, are investigated with respect to inactivating microbial contamination. Products are to be treated as gently as possible and the biological function of their ingedredients should not be affected.


Recovery of valuable materials from wastes of food production

The product-friendly and environmentally compatible extraction of functional components from biogenic raw materials or residues as well as intermediate products from agriculture and food production is a further research focus. For the re-utilization, we develop separation, extraction and concentration technologies in order to recover functional ingredients.

We work in an interdisciplinary team establishing new processes for the hygienization and sterilization of biogenic products, for example pasteurization by means of pressure change methods and microwave heating, or for extracting functional components from biogenic raw materials or residues by means of electrophoretic, high-pressure extraction and fractionation methods – from the conception phase, through trials on a laboratory scale, followed by technical scale-up to piloting on an industrial scale.

Range of services

We focus our research work on the special requirements of food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. We design processes and plants with a view to hygienic principles and to production in compliance with international guidelines. In order to implement our plant concepts we work together with a network of qualified firms from the field of mechanical engineering and plant construction.

  • Scientific evaluation, consulting and test trials for aspects of high pressure pasteurization/sterilization for fluid media
  • Scientific advice and test trials on aspects of microwave pasteurization/sterilization for fluid products
  • Optimizing processes with regard to microbial stability, ensuring that valuable ingredients are not destroyed in the process; energy efficiency
  • Product-related evaluation of high pressure and microwave pasteurization/sterilization; wide range of analyses
  • Developing hygienic and GMP-compliant processes and plants together with risk analyses for the processes under investigation
  • Layout and specification of process by an interdisciplinary team with background on process engineering, food technology, mechanical engineering, chemistry, microbiology and electric engineering
  • Laboratory plants for test trials
  • Design specification of process unit and components, e.g. by integrated combination of 3D-CAD design and numeric modeling of fluids, electromagnetical fields, heat transfer etc. with latest software releases
  • Assisting and monitoring our clients from first test trials up to commissioning of a plant


Infrastructure and technical equipment

A chemical-physical laboratory and several pilot plants are at our disposal for trials and further developments.

Our group uses state of the art software to run theoretical preliminary trials for multiphase processes such as on how solid particles react in a fluid flow. Software packages enable us to calculate high frequency electromagnetic fields in room environments and design antennas to create these fields.

Design and simulation software

  • SolidWorks
  • CST Microwave Studio
  • COMSOL MultiPhysics®
  • Design-Expert

Information materials


Brochure “Innovative aseptic technologies for foodstuffs and biotechnology”

Scientific publications

Publication Type
2021 Non-thermal processing of pineapple (Ananas comosus [L.] Merr.) juice using continuous pressure change technology (PCT): HS-SPME-GC-MS profiling, descriptive sensory analysis, and consumer acceptance
Vollmer, Kathrin; Czerny, Michael; Vásquez-Caicedo, Ana Lucia; Varona Iglesias, Salima; Frank, Jan; Carle, Reinhold; Steingass, Christof Björn
Journal Article
2020 Non-thermal Processing of Pineapple (Ananas comosus [L.] Merr.) Juice Using Continuous Pressure Change Technology (PCT): Effects on Physical Traits, Microbial Loads, Enzyme Activities, and Phytochemical Composition
Vollmer, K.; Santarelli, S.; Vásquez-Caicedo, Ana Lucia; Iglesias, S.V.; Frank, J.; Carle, R.; Steingass, C.B.
Journal Article
2020 Verfahren sowie Vorrichtung zum Aufbereiten von Zellsuspensionen
Egner, Siegfried; Solyom, Katalin; Vasquez, Ana Lucia; VaronaIgleisias, Salima; Schmid-Staiger, Ulrike
2020 Correction: Effect of temperature and moisture contents on dielectric properties at 2.45 GHz of fruit and vegetable processing by-products
Solyom, Katalin; Lopez, P.R.; Esquivel, P.; Vásquez-Caicedo, Ana Lucia
Journal Article
2020 Effect of temperature and moisture contents on dielectric properties at 2.45 GHz of fruit and vegetable processing by-products
Solyom, Katalin; Lopez, P.R.; Esquivel, P.; Lucia, A.; Vásquez-Caicedo, Ana Lucia
Journal Article
2016 Cell disruption by means of the pressure change technology
Varona Iglesias, Salima; Vásquez, Ana Lucía; Kauschmann, Felix
Journal Article
2016 Non-thermal pasteurization of orange (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck) juices using continuous pressure change technology (PCT): A Proof-of-Concept
Aschoff, Julian K.; Knoblauch, Katja; Hüttner, Christian; Vásquez-Caicedo, Ana Lucia; Carle, Reinhold; Schweiggert, Ralf M.
Journal Article
2015 Effect of moisture, temperature and bulk porosity of dielectric properties of carrot peel
Solyom, Katalin; Zhao, C.; Javaid, A.I.; Vásquez-Caicedo, Ana Lucia
Conference Paper
2015 A systematic approach for increased water and energy efficiency in dairy processing plants. Energy and water-saving potential in the dairy Industry
Vásquez, Ana Lucía; Pruß, Katherina
Journal Article
2014 Herstellung biozertifizierter Kosmetika aus nachwachsenden Rohstoffen
Vásquez-Caicedo, Ana Lucia; Zibek, Susanne; Rupp, Steffen; Egner, Siegfried
Journal Article
2009 Antropometric data obtained from the second german national nutrition survey
Strassburg, A.; Vásquez-Caicedo, Ana Lucia; Krems, C.
Conference Paper
Diese Liste ist ein Auszug aus der Publikationsplattform Fraunhofer-Publica

This list has been generated from the publication platform Fraunhofer-Publica


AMICREX – Development of Microwave Assisted Cell Disruption of Biomass and Extraction of Valuable Compounds

  • The project aims to develop an integrated process and reactor design for future industrial implementation, where by-products from agro industrial processes can be valorised by recovering high-value nonpolar components through a microwave intensified microemulsion extraction process.

EnReMilk – Integrated engineering approach validating reduced water and energy consumption in milk processing for wider food supply chain replication

  • Fifteen European partners are working together on optimizing novel water-and energy-saving technologies and integrating them into selected dairy processing lines, while maintaining the quality and safety of the corresponding products.

Whey2Food – Enhanced protein fractionation from protein sources for their use in special food applications

  • By refining an electromembrane process initially investigated at the University of Hohenheim, the Whey2Food project consortium is investigating how to obtain high-quality whey proteins fractions. 

ProEclair – Automated production of preservative-free choux pastry

  • The objective of the ˝ProEclair˝ project funded by the EU is to produce the traditional choux paste automatically under aseptic conditions in order to increase its shelf life substantially.


  • The Fraunhofer IGB’s role in this project is to develop a continuous process for wine stabilization on the basis of pressure change technology (PCT). The objective is to minimize or avoid the addition of chemical preservatives such as sulfur dioxide.


  • Nutritional and shelf-stable milk through novel microwave processing.