Sonication shows promise in production of cream tea staples

1 min read

A Loughborough University engineer is investigating the use of sonication in the jam, preserves and cream making process.

AdobeStock

Such toppings are a staple of cream teas but can become less palatable when factoring the energy required to make them. High temperatures are needed to make conserves, high-powered machines are used to whip cream, and processes often run for a long time.

Dr Carmen Torres-Sanchez, leader of the Multifunctional Materials Manufacturing (MMM) Lab in the Wolfson School, has been exploring the feasibility of using ultrasound in manufacturing – sonication – in a lab-based study co-funded by PERA International Ltd. The process is said to use less energy, helps to retain more nutrients, and creates longer-life products.

The study is still in its feasibility stage, but Dr Torres-Sanchez said her early findings – which she hopes to build on in collaboration with industrial partners and then publish in a peer-reviewed journal paper – look ‘promising’.

“Our studies so far suggest that sonication-aided cooking process of jams and conserves results in lower peak temperatures and quicker gelation,” she said in a statement. “This may have the benefit of better preservation of vitamins and nutrients – which are damaged by long-term exposure to heat using traditional methods – in the final product.

“We also tested if sonication could be used to aid the whipping of cream to create the characteristic foamy emulsion we desire. We found that the sonication-aided cream achieved a stable emulsion faster than cream made with the traditional ‘silent’ process, and its viscosity was better. In addition, the sonicated whipped cream showed longer stability and shelf-life than its silent counterpart.

“The results are promising and a reduction in energy consumption in manufacturing processes could help food and drink manufacturers meet the targets imposed by the climate-driven National Strategy for Net Zero.”

Dr Torres-Sanchez is looking for companies interested in trialling sonication in production equipment and moving the experiments from the lab to the factory floor.

Further information on the project can be found in an online Issuu flipbook