Improved Efficiency, Reduced Cost, Freezing Technologies Using Biogenic Ice Nucleation Proteins

INPs can significantly improve the freeze-drying efficiency indicated as primary rate at different freezing temperatures. At -8oC, such improvement is more significant, as control sample without INPs is unable to freeze.


Invention Summary:

This invention uses known ice nucleation proteins (INP’s) to improve freezing technologies efficiency, and hence reduce costs. This would be applicable for freeze concentration, freeze drying, and desalination processes. Model energy saving are estimated to be ~30% to 50%, resulting from reduction of drying time, higher efficiencies via ice morphology, lamellar structure, and crystal size (ice crystals to 30% larger vs control), and shorter ice crystal sublimation time.

INP efficiency improvement of freeze concentration and freeze drying processes has been validated on a lab scale, with parameters including INP concentration, initial solute concentration, freezing temperature, centrifuge condition, freeze concentration cycles, drying time.

The efficiency improvement of drying and concentration technologies has been demonstrated in food systems. Commercialization would need validated efficiency improvement of both processes in scaled up manufacturing processes, and INP GRAS certification.

Our research shows that INPs can further affect the efficiency of subsequent separation steps, which has never been shown in previous studies and can lead to significant cost reductions. The studies also showed  that INPs have the ability to alter ice morphology that facilitate the key separation step.


Marketing Applications:

Applications in foods, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and water desalination.

  • Food applications include concentrating aroma-rich liquid foods, such as fruit juice, coffee and tea; beer, and premium dried foods for better sensory and nutritional preservation and flavor retention in instant beverage powders and food flavor extracts.
  • Nutraceutical & pharmaceutical products to better preserve bio-activity of perishable materials, e.g., proteins, enzymes, biological drugs, human cells, microorganisms, vaccines lypholization.
  • Additional applications may include preservation of skin and bone, tissue scaffold engineered products, inorganics, and healthcare cosmetics.

Advantages:

  • Uses known, safe, at low % INP usage (10-2 mg/mL) e.g., P. syringae endotoxins naturally present in snow; Erwinia herbicola subsp. ananas obtained from American Type Culture Collection
  • Addresses disadvantages of current processes such as slow drying/freezing rates, product separation from ice, and equipment capital and energy costs.
    (No additional equipment/facilities costs, only require INPs)

Intellectual Property Status:

Patent Pending. Available for licensing.


The addition of INPs can significantly reduce energy cost for both freezing concentration and freeze-drying processes.