Main content area

Metal release from stainless steel electrodes of a PEF treatment chamber: Effects of electrical parameters and food composition

Pataro, Gianpiero, Falcone, Mariangela, Donsì, Giorgio, Ferrari, Giovanna
Innovative food science & emerging technologies 2014 v.21 pp. 58-65
chromium, corrosion, electrical conductivity, electrical equipment, electrodes, energy, food composition, food contamination, foods, halides, iron, manganese, nickel, nonthermal processing, pH, pasteurization, specific energy, stainless steel
The effects of electrical parameters (field strength E, total specific energy input WT and pulse frequency) and product composition on the release of the main metallic elements (Fe, Cr, Ni and Mn) of stainless steel (type 316L) electrodes of a continuous flow parallel plate PEF chamber into the treatment medium were investigated. Experiments were carried out by subjecting two different buffer solutions (McIlvaine and Trizma-HCl) with the same values of pH (7) and electrical conductivity (σ=2mS/cm) to PEF treatments (mono-polar exponential decay pulses, lasting 3.1μs) at different intensities (E=12–21–31kV/cm, WT=20–60–100J/mL) and flow rates (2–3–4L/h). The results showed that, for each field strength applied, the concentration of metallic elements increased upon increasing the total specific energy input. At constant total energy input, it was noticed that the metal concentration decreased upon increasing the field strength applied. These results were mainly attributed to the key role played by the pulse frequency in the charging process of the double layer capacitors at the electrode–solution interface. Moreover, it was shown that the amount of metal released from the electrodes markedly depended on the presence of halides in the composition of the processed product.Electrochemical reactions at the electrode solution interfaces are unavoidable when typical conditions for PEF processing are applied. For the acceptability of PEF processing as a non-thermal method for liquid food pasteurization, the occurrence of these reactions should be avoided or minimized since they may determine undesired phenomenon of contamination of the food product, electrode-fouling and electrode corrosion. In this paper, electrode corrosion was studied, for the first time, in a continuous flow parallel plate PEF treatment chamber. The present investigation contributes to clarifying the effects of some electrical parameters and food composition on electrode corrosion or release of electrode materials under real PEF treatment conditions.