food and beverage

Activated Carbon and its role in the food and beverage industry

NewCarbon’s engineered activated carbon results in optimum distributions of micro, meso and macro pores in the carbon lattice effectively removing carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons, coloured bodies, colour precursors, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other impurities found in many food processing applications. A correctly engineered activated carbon not only contributes to food and beverage purity and safety but also improves desirability and aesthetics effectively by removing undesired smells, tastes and colours. It is imperative that the engineered carbons physical and chemical properties are correctly paired to address the substances to be adsorbed.

The first industrial application of activated carbon was in the food sector, in the sugar industry. In 1794 charcoal was used for the first time in an English sugar refinery. Today, activated carbons are not only used for treatment of sugar solutions but also cover a wide range of applications from treatment of edible oils and fats to applications in the beverage industry for wine and fruit juices and the coloration of food as vegetable carbon. Apart from decolourization, activated carbon is used for removing dissolved organic compounds and controlling odour and taste.

Preparation of beverages often require the use of activated carbon. The typical applications for use would be for dechlorination of the process water used in the bottling plants, to purify the water or to remove unwanted components and impurities and for adjusting taste and colour. The grade of activated carbon will be selected in accordance to the task: chemically activated carbon types for decolourization or steam activated carbon types for taste and odour regulation. A common example is the use of powdered activated carbon for decolourization of red wine to produce vermouth or white wine, while issued from dark grapes. In addition, the raw water utilised for production in the beverage industry must meet high purity requirements.

In the fruit juice industry, depending on the quality of the raw products, there are increased amounts of undesired secondary components. This is independent of the primary product used (e.g., apple, lemon, oranges) This relates to Patuline removal, colour adjustment, decolorisation and odour and taste adjustment.

High quality activated carbon qualities are also used for e.g. in the production of the finest vodkas, for the refinement of taste and odour. This essentially concerns the removal of acetaldehyde and branched alcohols, which arise in the production.