A new approach to freezing could solve many issues associated with food preservation, including energy use, carbon emissions, and food waste. As shown by a recent study, a special food preservation method, know as isochoric freezing, could contribute to high-quality frozen foods that are safer and require less energy to maintain.


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Isochoric freezing works by storing and sealing food items in a rigid container. The container is filled with water or other liquid. As the container is chilled, it reduces the temperature of the food and preserves it without a complete freeze. The approach is carried out without the food coming in direct contact with air, which protects the food from excessive drying and ice crystallization.

Safer, Better Produce For Less Energy

In a study carried out by scientists at the University Of Calfornia-Berkley and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Isochoric freezing was shown to better preserve produce without completely freezing it solid and with greatly reduced energy demands. The method was also shown to be effective at killing microbial contaminants and preserving more delicate foods that are prone to damage with conventional freezing, like tomatoes, cherries, and potatoes.

Isochoric freezing has been mainly used as a means of preserving organs for transplants. As a method of food storage, the technology could amount to less food waste and reduced energy demands across entire supply chains. Not only could it be applied to food processing, transport, wholesale, and retail applications, it may be a viable option for keeping food preserved in home kitchens or home commercial kitchens and for temperature control in medical, biology, and aerospace sectors.

The remains of a bag of frozen green peas that have become freezer-burned and dehydrated after too much time in the freezer. Credit: Ragesoss

The Next Revolution In Food Preservation?

At present, the concept is experimental, but the research team is seeking industrial input to further develop isochoric freezing technology for commercial sectors. Will this development amount to a food preservation innovation not seen since the early twentieth century? Comment and share your thoughts.

ABOUT University Of Calfornia-Berkley

The University of California is a system of 10 campuses, five medical centers and three affiliated national laboratories.  The university’s fundamental missions are teaching, research and public service.

The distinctive mission of the University is to serve society as a center of higher learning, providing long-term societal benefits through transmitting advanced knowledge, discovering new knowledge, and functioning as an active working repository of organized knowledge.

That obligation, more specifically, includes undergraduate education, graduate and professional education, research, and other kinds of public service, which are shaped and bounded by the central pervasive mission of discovering and advancing knowledge.

ABOUT The Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-house research agency. Our job is finding solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table. Here are a few numbers to illustrate the scope of our organization:

  • 660 research projects within 15 National Programs
  • 2,000 scientists and post docs
  • 6,000 other employees
  • 90+ research locations, including overseas laboratories
  • $1.5 billion fiscal year budget

ARS delivers scientific solutions to national and global agricultural challenges.

Their core values are scientific excellence, creativity, innovation, integrity, leadership, collaboration, accountability, transparency, diversity, respect, inclusiveness, and public service. These values underpin ARS’ commitment to delivering cutting-edge, scientific tools and innovative solutions for American farmers, producers, industry, and communities to support the nourishment and well-being of all people; sustain our nation’s agroecosystems and natural resources; and ensure the economic competitiveness and excellence of our agriculture.

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