Introduction

High pressure treatment to kill bacteria was first described in 1895 by Royer (1). Hite and coworkers (2) of the University of West Virginia reported the effects of high pressure preservation in milk in 1899. Bridgman (3, 4) observed coagulation of "egg albumen" by high pressure treatment in 1914. Since these reports, observations related to effects of high pressure on living organisms and living materials have been gradually made without successful application. A major breakthrough was made in Japan where the application of high pressure on food processing was successfully demonstrated in 1986 (5).

The most common process for food sterilization today is thermal treatment. Although thermal treatment effectively controls microorganisms and bacteria, such processing can alter food's natural taste and flavor and destroy vitamins. Hence, non-heating process for sterilization of food attracted attention of food manufactures. Therefore, introduction of high pressure-processing technology to food industries was received with much enthusiasm. Since then, pressure processing of food has become popular among food industries in Japan.

The intent of this article is not to cover the topic exhaustively, but to summarize recent research and developmental activities in Japan on high pressure technology for processing foods where the most notable progress was made. For further details one may refer to the Proceedings of the Symposia held from 1988 -1993 (5-10) and references 11-16.

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