Microwave heating is a suitable way to heat materials and it is considered to be fast and easy to use as a novel technology. Microwave heating has been widely used in food processing such as cooking, drying, pasteurization and preservation of food materials. Through the ability of microwaves to penetrate inside the materials, microwaves provide volumetric heating in food heating[1]. Among all milk pasteurisation is the one of the most significant utilization of microwave heating.Microwave applications with dairy products are essentially focused on milk pasteurisation and sterilization.

Milk is traditionally pasteurized in a heat exchanger before distribution. The application of microwave heating to pasteurize milk has been well studied and has been a commercial practice for quite a long time. The success of microwave heating of milk is based on established conditions that provide the desired degree of safety with minimum product quality degradation. Since the first reported study on the use of a microwave system for pasteurization of milk , several studies on microwave heating of milk have been carried out. The majority of these microwave-based studies have been used to investigate the possibility of shelf-life enhancement of pasteurized milk, application of microwave energy to inactivate milk pathogens, assess the influence on the milk nutrients or the nonuniform temperature distribution during the microwave treatment.[2]

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Effect on Milk Nutrients

Milk is a rich source of vitamins and heat treatment affects some of these nutrients. The effects of microwave heating on several vitamins in cows’ milk have been studied by many researchers. Most studies report an insignificant loss in vitamin A, -carotene, vitamin B1 or B2 in microwave-pasteurized milk, while a loss of approximately 17% for vitamin E and 36% for vitamin C have been found.A writer named Sierra,I. compared in her article the heat stability of vitamins B1 and B2 in milk between continuous microwave heating and conventional heating having the same heating, holding, and cooling steps. No significant losses in the vitamins were reported during microwave heating at 90°C without holding period, while vitamin B2 was found to decrease by 3%–5% during 30–60 s of holding. To conclude that the microwave process does not offer any additional advantage with respect to vitamin retentions as compared to conventional heating process. Microwave heating of milk does not affect protein or fat components. Volatile components of conventionally treated and microwave-treated (continuous flow) milk have differed significantly.[2]

Effect on Microbial Inactivation

The inactivation of Streptococcus faecalis, Yersinia enterocolitica, Campylobacter jejuni, and Listeria monocytogenes in milk by microwave energy has been reported by Choi [3]The complete inactivation of Y. enterocolitica, C. jejuni, and L. monocytogenes occurred at 8, 3, and 10 min when the cells were heated at a constant temperature of 71.1°C using microwaves with initial microbial loads of l06 –107 K/mL.[2]


[1] http://www.academicfoodjournal.com/archive/2016/issue4/pages451-457.TTurgut.pdf


[3] Choi, H.K., Marth, E.H. and Vasavada, P.C., Use of microwave energy to inactivate Yersinia enterocolitica and Campylobacter jejuni in milk. Milchwissenschaft 48, 134–136, 1993