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Purdue Agriculture Communication photo/Tom Campbell
Hard Science

Scientists May Have Found a Way to Extend Milk’s Shelf Life by 7 Weeks

Regular pasteurized milk usually lasts two to three weeks, but it's all about to change with the new technique development by a team of researchers.

Charmaine CaparasJuly 27th 2016
News
Purdue Agriculture Communication photo/Tom Campbell

Milk is a staple in almost everyone’s refrigerator. Unfortunately, the all-important partner to your morning cereal has a shelf life of about two weeks. This could be changing, though. Scientists report that they are developing a new method that can keep milk fresh for up to nine weeks.

Think of all the trips to the store you’ll avoid.

Things Are Heating Up

Researchers at Purdue University in Indiana and the University of Tennessee increased milk’s temperature by 10 degrees Celsius for one second during the pasteurization process. The increase in temperature added up to seven weeks to the usual lifespan of refrigerated, pasteurized milk.

The new process removes more than 99 percent of bacteria left behind after pasteurization. Lead researcher Bruce Applegate says the treatment takes out most of the bacteria and whatever survives takes much longer to multiply and won’t really damage the quality of the milk.

Image source: BBC
Image source: BBC

Same Milk, Longer Life

Scientists treated the milk by adding small droplets of pasteurized milk through a pressurized, heated chamber to quickly warm the liquid by 10 degrees Celsius and then cool it down again. The new process did not alter the color, aroma, taste, or aftertaste of the pasteurized milk.

According to the researchers, they are still perfecting the method, but are confident it can be scaled up easily. The team is also planning to test the process on raw, unpasteurized milk to see what the effects are. If successful, this new technique could cut down on food waste and allow milk to be transported over longer distances.

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