Review paper                                                                                                                                                                           DOI: 10.17508/CJFST.2021.13.2.09

Microwave Processing of Food and Biological Materials: Principles and Various Processing Applications

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6241-1417Markos Makiso Urugo1,2*, Shimelis Admassu Emire3, Tadele Tuba Tringo4

1Department of Food Science and Postharvest Technology, College of Agricultural Sciences, Wachemo University, Ethiopia
2Department of Postharvest Management, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Jimma University, Ethiopia
3Food Engineering Graduate Program, School of Chemical and Bio-Engineering, Addis Ababa University Institute of Technology, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
4Department of Food Technology and Process Engineering, College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology, Arbaminch University, Ethiopia

Article history:
Received: August 24, 2020
Accepted: March 16, 2021
Microwave processing is one of the novel food processing technologies that use electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength and frequency between 1 mm to 1 m and 300 MHz to 300 GHz, respectively. In this review, principles and various applications of microwave technology for food processing are addressed. A systematic literature search was conducted by using, Google Scholar and, Web of Science, Open access theses and dissertations on the principles and application of microwave processing of food were summarized. Additionally, references of each selected publication were examined to get more relevant articles. In microwave processing, the food material absorbs microwave energy directly, and internally, and converts it to heat. The technology is applicable for different unit operations in food industries such as cooking, heating, drying, pasteurization, sterilization, thawing, tempering, baking, blanching, and the extraction of important food biomaterials. Microwave processing is highly advantageous over conventional food processing techniques, in terms of retaining the nutritional content of the food and reducing processing time. Consequently, the breakthrough of the technology in food processing industry has been predicted before. However, the potential of microwave technology is not widely exhausted in Africa. It is associated with a lack of awareness, a priority setting on the application of emerging technologies for safe and high quality value added products; moreover, its high initial investment and operational power cost may become a bottleneck for food processing companies in Africa. Therefore, food innovation centres in Africa should drive high performance standards from technology adoption to improve the application of microwave technology in food industries.
biological materials
innovation centres in Africa
microwave processing
technology adoption