Pasteurization vs Homogenization: Appropriate Uses & Misconceptions

Pion Favicon
David Shechter
Oct 21, 2015
min read
Pasteurization vs Homogenization: Appropriate Uses & Misconceptions

The present-day food and pharmaceutical industries are overrun with misconceptions about ingredients, processes, and treatment. As quickly as one study promotes a treatment, a highly contrasting finding soon surfaces. For the consumer, this can be incredibly confusing and misleading, causing one to wonder what to believe. As researchers who synthesize these products, it is critical that we have an accurate understanding of every aspect of our processes. In this writing, we tackle pasteurization and homogenization: When should each be used? And how can you as a researcher ensure that you are producing a high quality and effective product?

Made famous by the infamous Louis Pasteur, pasteurization involves heating food to a specific temperature to target and kill potentially harmful pathogens and contaminants. Milk, eggs and products made from milk need minimal processing, called pasteurization. This process includes: heating the milk briefly (for example, heating it to 161°F for about 15 seconds), rapidly cooling the milk, practicing sanitary handling, and storing milk in clean, closed containers at 40°F or below.

The process can be implemented via flash, steam, or irradiation, all of which expose the product to heat and/or gamma rays for differing periods of time. Studies have shown that flavor and nutrient composition are compromised during the process, specifically in the context of milk treatment. Yet short-lasting, high-temperature treatments are significantly less detrimental than long-lasting, lower-temperature treatments, particularly in terms of nutrient composition. (1) A number of medical professionals have claimed that pasteurized milk has serious health and nutrition implications, but the FDA strongly discourages raw milk consumption due to the serious dangers of harmful microorganisms present in unpasteurized milk. In fact, among dairy product-associated outbreaks reported to CDC during 2007 and 2012 in which the investigators reported whether the product was pasteurized or raw, 81% were due to raw milk or cheese.(2)

In contrast to pasteurization, homogenization can be applied to more than just foods; homogenizers can yield emulsions, dispersions, suspensions, and more, which can be used across industries. The single classic food example is milk, yet there are almost too many pharmaceutical products to name; creams, vaccines, antibiotics, steroids, cancer drugs, and nutraceuticals are just a few. Homogenization has been described as fuel for cancer growth and digestive problems due to protein polymers escaping the digestive process. However, there are few bodies of actual research indicating these claims to be founded. In fact, pharmaceutical products that are synthesized using high quality homogenizers are typically more effective, visually appealing, and overall higher quality than those produced using a low-quality homogenizer or none at all.

Regardless of the type of product your lab is working to synthesize - pharmaceutical or food- it is important to acquire homogenizers and pasteurizers that are high quality, and come with effective product support. Pion's BEE brand Technologies is  trusted by pharmaceutical researchers and lab managers around the world. Our high pressure homogenizers deliver an array of key benefits, such as production of nano/micro emulsions and dispersions and lipids and suspensions; these can be used for applications such as injectables, targeted drug delivery, inhalants, time release, anesthetics, and vaccinations.

In addition, we have extensive experience in the challenges that their pharmaceutical customers face as they transition from concept, through to R&D, clinical trials, all-important FDA approval and finally, to manufacturing.

Prev Blog
Next Blog