The influence of Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) pretreatment of blueberry fruits (Vaccinium myrtillus L.), both on the extraction yield and antioxidant properties of juice obtained by pressing and on the on the recovery of bioactive compounds from berry by-products (press cake) by extraction with solvent, was investigated. PEF treatments carried out at field strengths of 1, 3, and 5 kV/cm and an energy input of 10 kJ/kg achieved a cell disintegration index (Zp) of 0.70, 0.80, and 0.87, respectively. Mechanical pressing (1.32 bar for 8 min) of PEF-treated berries (1, 3, and 5 kV/cm at 10 kJ/kg) significantly increased the juice yield (+28 %) compared with the untreated sample. The juice obtained from PEF pre-treated berries also had a significantly higher total phenolic content (+ 43 %), total anthocyanin content (+60 %) and antioxidant activity (+31 %). However, PEF treatment intensity higher than 1 kV/cm did not significantly improve the quantitative or qualitative characteristics of the juice. Compared to the untreated sample, higher amounts of total phenolics (+ 63 %), total athocyanins (+78 %) and antioxidant activity (+ 65 %) were detected in the press cake extracts. PEF treatment of higher intensity resulted in better extractability of bioactive compounds from blueberry press cake. The results obtained from this study demonstrate the potential of PEF as a mild pretreatment method to improve the efficiency of the industrial processing of berry fruits.
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