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Difference between sterilization and pasteurization

Some of the microorganisms are useful and even necessary for everyday life. However, there are a huge number of microorganisms that can cause disease or damage to useful resources. There are different methods that can be used to kill harmful microorganisms.

Maybe you’re still messing around with pasteurizing and sterilizing. The sterilization is a process that destroys all microorganisms and their spores, while the pasteurization destroys only the vegetative forms of the bacteria and the spores survive. Therefore, sterilized foods are kept at room temperature for long periods of time, while pasteurized foods require refrigerated preservation to delay the proliferation of possible microorganisms or spores present in the food.

What is Sterilization?

Sterilization is a destruction of all microorganisms and their spores. The process kills pathogenic and saprophytic microorganisms, vegetative and spore forms, viruses. Sterilization can be physical or chemical.

Physical sterilization is:

  • Sterilization with heat;
  • Cold sterilization.

Chemical sterilization is:

  • Gas sterilization using chemical agents;
  • Cold chemical sterilization.

What is Pasteurization?

Pasteurization is the process of applying low heat to kill pathogens and inactivate spoilage enzymes. It does not kill bacterial spores, so pasteurization does not truly sterilize products. Pasteurization is named for Louis Pasteur, who developed a method to kill microbes in 1864. However, the process has been in use since at least 1117 AD.

Pasteurization may be applied to both packaged and unpackaged solids and liquids. The basic premise behind pasteurization is that heat kills most pathogens and inactivates some proteins, including enzymes responsible for food spoilage. The exact process depends on the nature of the product.

Benefits of Sterilization and pasteurization

Canned products that have been sterilized have the benefit of not needing a refrigerator to store the product. Sterilized foods can also be stored for 6 months to 1 year at room temperature without preservatives. Due to the characteristics of the processing and packaging of the sterilization technology with a closed aseptic system, the extremely fast heating and cooling of the product will help kill or paralyze the ability of microorganisms to function, making the chemical composition of the product less changeable.

Pasteurization method can keep product fresh long enough for it to be on the market and consumers’ places. It helps preventing disease found in many food products and removing the organisms that cause those diseases is critical  to ensuring your product is safe for general consumption. Pasteurization is a quick and safe way to sanitize food products, therefore the quality of your product is more consistent. The pasteurization process can improve the smell and taste of your product.