INTRODUCTION TO FOOD ENGINEERING
Food engineering which became an academic discipline in 1950’s is professional and scientific multidisciplinary field related to food manufacturing, food process design and fabrication, operation & maintenance of food handling equipment’s at processing facility. This covers the practical applications of food science. The purpose of this evolving field is to advance the implementation of efficient industrial processing in the transformation of raw materials of biological origin into edible forms, which includes packaging, storage, and distribution. Food engineers are employed in academia by government and industry and as private consultants to assess the problems concerning food production, food quality, process and plant design and food regulation. They conduct research and develop unit operations such as sterilization, irradiation, concentration, extrusion and freezing. Ancient activities like milling, dehydration and fermentation have been transformed through the increasing demand of food supply systems into automatic installments. Producing safe and nutritious food for human and animal consumption is one of the principal aims of food engineering. High-quality raw materials are handled and processed by special, computerized equipment in food processing plants. The processing includes extracting, separating and remixing food ingredients to manufacture different food products.
Food engineering includes the study of engineering properties, for example, compositional properties like boiling or freezing point; physical characteristics such as size, shape, volume , surface area, density, and porosity; mechanical properties such as compressive strength, impact, and shear; sensory properties such as texture and color, and thermo-physical properties such as specific volume, specific heat , thermal conductivity, and viscosity.
Today’s food engineering research leaders tend to be experts in material science (e.g. rheology, mass transfer properties, and thermal & electrical food properties), applied mathematics and modeling, and biochemical engineering applied to foods. Food engineers of the future will advance the development of computational techniques as tools for process automation, control, design, and improvement. Novel technologies like the application of high hydrostatic pressure, pulsed electric fields, light pulses, oscillating magnetic fields, and ultrasound have the potential to impact non thermal processing preservation. Food engineers will lead in implementing such processes in the actual design of industrial facilities, in combination with hurdles, which will help maintain the nutritional and sensory aspects of safer natural food products.