Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a period of time. It was developed to make milk safe for consumption. Raw milk contains dangerous microorganisms that can pose serious health risks to consumers if consumed directly.
However, there exist some shortcomings in the current process. Pasteurization does not kill all micro-organisms which eventually can multiply and make milk unfit for consumption within a period of 2 weeks. As milk has to be transported over large distances from the processing plant to the local stores, the shelf life reduces. Due to short shelf life and cold chain inefficiency, approximately 18% or 26 million tonnes of milk is wasted each year.
Realizing there is room for improvement, researchers at Purdue University have developed an add-on process to pasteurization that can extend the total shelf life of milk up to 9 weeks. The temperature of tiny droplets of pasteurized milk is increased by 10°C for less than a second before lowering it again. This eliminates more than 99 percent of the bacteria left behind after pasteurization, hence increasing shelf life.
This process if implemented for commercial purposes will make it possible to deliver milk to more rural and relatively inaccessible regions without it getting wasted.