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Food science including the processing and preservation aspects is an interdisciplinary subject involving topics from chemistry, microbiology, engineering operations and technological processes. These topics need an interactive approach to enable one to gain a proper perspective and insight into the subject.
The fast emerging food biotechnology, involving the use of genetically modified foods and food products, has become controversial even though the use of micro-organisms and microbial products in food processing has been in practice for centuries. The second volume of Handbook of Food Processing Technology deals with biochemical and microbiological aspects in food processing, and is divided into two parts of six sections each.
Part A focuses on biochemical aspects. Food losses and food poisoning have been recognised for centuries, but the causes of these problems were not understood. Understanding of food biochemistry followed by developments in food biotechnology in the past decades resulted in, besides better raw materials and products, improved human nutrition and food safety and these developments are applied in food industry. The sections in this part deal with basic concepts of food biotechnology; water, enzymology and protein cross-linking; muscle foods; milk processing; fruits, vegetables and cereals; and fermented foods.
Part B studies microbiological aspects of food processes. Microbiology is the science which includes the study of the occurrence and significance of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and algae which are the beginning and ending of intricate food chains upon which all life depends. These food chains begin whenever photosynthetic organisms can trap light energy and use it to synthesise large molecules from carbon dioxide, water and mineral salts forming the proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The sections in this part deal with the principles of preservation and spoilage of different kinds of food; foods and enzymes produced by micro-organisms; foods in relation to disease and contamination; and quality control and inspection.
The present Handbook of Food Processing Technology is a complete treatise on foods and food processing techniques. It is essential reading for all students and teachers of environment, engineering, food technology and life sciences. The book will also cater to the needs of students and professors, industry personnel and others working on research aspects in this field.
S.C. Bhatia, a Chemical Engineer from BITS, Pilani, and also an MBA, is a consultant on Environmental and Pollution Control, Energy Conservation and Polymer Sciences. He has worked in various petrochemical plants in production planning, maintenance, quality control, etc. He has authored books on subjects ranging from chemical process industries, plastic and rubber technology to perfume, soaps and cosmetics. His areas of specialisation include air and water pollution, energy conservation, rubber, plastics and bio-sciences. He has contributed numerous papers on chemical and allied subjects in journals of repute. Among his published books, Textbook of Noise Pollution and Its Control, Textbook of Biotechnology, Managing Industrial Pollution, Industrial Chemistry, Perfume, Soap and Cosmetics and Chemical Process Industries have received overwhelming response.