What is Pasteurization? medical definition and meaning of Pasteur

What is pasteurization?

Pasteurization is the process and the result of pasteurizing. This verb refers to the action of increasing the temperature of a food product in a liquid state to a level that is barely less than that necessary for its boiling, during a limited period of time.

Next, the product is cooled very quickly. In this way, it is possible to eliminate the microorganisms without modifying the characteristics of the food in question.Pasteurization

The term

The term pasteurization or pasteurization arises from the surname of the scientist who discovered the process, Louis Pasteur, born in 1822 and died in 1895.

This man-made, with the collaboration of Claude Bernard, the first process of pasteurization in April 1864.

The pasteurization is certainly a common process that is carried out on some foods for mass consumption and everyday, such is the case of milk and consists of sterilizing the liquid in question, raising its temperature at a point before the so-called point of boiling, for a very short time. Then it is cooled and the food in question must be hermetically sealed.

The primary mission of this process is to totally destroy the pathogenic microorganisms that may be present in them, but without affecting its composition and the qualities of the liquid in question.

Molds, bacteria, yeasts, are some of those organisms that are intended to destroy through this procedure, which as we noted is super usual in those liquids that are used as food.


Sterilization is a very common and important procedure to achieve the satisfactory or expected hygiene of a substance, liquid, element, among others.

From it, all germs that may be spinning and that could severely affect the health of that food or that object that will be used are made to disappear.

The sterilization, pasteurization, we guarantee people that liquids or whatever has been subjected to these processes are free of bacteria or viruses and then, it gives us peace of mind to consume them.

And also, on the other hand, pasteurization assures us that the liquid or food that is treated will conserve its structure, its components, and its qualities, that is, they will not be affected by the submission to this process.


The name pasteurization is not casual or capricious but is in close relationship with who has been its discoverer, French scientist Louis Pasteur, who would specify the first pasteurization in 1864.

It should be noted that this procedure caused a furore in the mid-nineteenth century when it was first practiced and discovered that from that moment it was possible that some foods that had only a few hours of life could be preserved for longer without undergoing decomposition.

The bacteria

It is important to bear in mind that, unlike what happens with sterilization, pasteurization does not manage to destroy all the cells of thermophilic bacteria or the spores of microorganisms in general.

Its purpose, therefore, is not to eliminate all the pathogens, but to reduce their populations so that the food in question does not generate intoxication to the person who consumes it.

Some experts claim that pasteurization could destroy the vitamins in liquid foods and modify their taste. These issues, however, could not be confirmed.

Thanks to pasteurization, it is possible to move the milk through great distances without its decomposition. Milk pasteurization also prevents diseases such as salmonellosis, polio, tuberculosis, diphtheria, typhoid, and scarlet fever.

Types of pasteurization

In packaged juices, there are several types of pasteurization: there are unprocessed juices (raw) and others that undergo an ultra-pasteurization (sterile) process.

This process does not vary the flavor of the product and is extremely effective in this type of drinks because it is an acidic medium.

The most frequent microorganisms in the juices are Bacillus cereus, and Clostridium botulinum and several types of Salmonella, depending on the fruit with which they have been elaborated.

In these cases, pasteurization can produce a change in color, turning the brownish liquid; This is due to the deterioration of the polyphenol oxidase enzymes.

Bottle beverages, creams, ice creams, beer, wines, and cheeses are other foods that undergo pasteurization processes.


In each country there are specialized agencies that are responsible for controlling the quality of food; they investigate the most recommended Pasteurization methods for this or that product and demand that all their distributors submit them to these processes.

Some of these agencies are the USDA (in charge of food control in the United States) and the Food Standards Agency (which carries out the same activity in the United Kingdom).

It is necessary to mention that the standards of pasteurization vary for each food, and can differ between products made from the same raw material, as is the case of cheese and yogurt.


The issue of pasteurization has been the focus of debates on more than one occasion. With regard to milk, for example, it has been discovered that many microorganisms managed to develop a defense to that decrease in their population with temperature, questioning the effects of this process.

In order to corroborate the certainty of this investigation, tests are carried out such as the polymerase chain reaction that allows to know the survival level of different classes of microorganisms.

It should also be mentioned that it has been proven that under certain conditions, pasteurization can destroy vitamins A and B, so undoubtedly this process is not entirely efficient and has many questionable side effects.

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