What is high-pressure treatment?

History of high-pressure technologies in food processing

It is at a depth of 10,000 m in the sea that the pressure of as high as 100 MPa can be obtained. It is difficult to get a high pressure although “pressure” has been regarded as an important parameter in our life. Therefore, the history of practical use of high pressure has not yet been so long. In the seventeenth century, R. Boyle recognized pressure as a scientific parameter. Since then, the R&D using pressure has progressed in a variety of fields, resulting in the development of steam engines and high pressure generators, and the synthesis of ammonia and diamond.

High pressure saved mankind from food crisis in the past. At the beginning of twentieth century, Haber and Bosch used high pressure in a chemical reaction to successfully synthesize ammonia from air and water according to the Haber-Bosch process. This was leading to industrial production of nitrogen fertilizers such as ammonium sulfate, which has become essential to the nourishment for the people in the world. The world population was just about 1.6 billion at that time, but it was very difficult to nourish all the people with the infertile land. The nitrogen fertilizer made from inexhaustible air by the Haber-Bosch process has protected the current world population of 6.7 billion from food crisis.

In Japan Dr. Hayashi proposed the practical use of high pressure for food processing in 1987, which has been encouraging a variety of researches in the field of food processing since then. Echigo Seika has been working on the research of high-pressure treatment for the industrial applications for about 20 years to achieve excellent results. Thus, Echigo Seika has taken the lead in the research of high-pressure technologies.

Echigo Seika has engaged in the R&D history of high-pressure technologies, started from the synthesis of ammonia by the Haber-Bosch process in 1912, as shown below.

1912 Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch developed a method for synthesizing ammonia from nitrogen and put it into practice.They won the Novel Prize in Chemistry in 1918.
1914 P. W. Bridgman reported on the Coagulation of albumen by pressure. He won the Novel Prize in Physics in 1946.
1959 The first high pressure conference of Japan was held in Kyoto.
1964 Prof. Keizo Suzuki (Ritsumeikan Univ.) presented to the journal Seibutsu Butsuri a research report about the denaturation of proteins under high pressure.
1966 Prof. Keizo Suzuki and Prof. Yoshiihiro Taniguchi (Ritsumeikan Univ.) presented a report of “Biopolymer solutions and model systems under high pressure.”
1987 Dr. Rikimaru Hayashi (Kyoto Univ.) reported “Possibility of High Pressure Technology for Cooking, Sterilization, Processing and Storage of Foodsfood” to Shokuhin to Kaihatsu.
1988 The Japanese research group of high pressure in biological field was started in Kyoto University at the suggestion of Prof. Rikimaru Hayashi.
  • The Japanese Society of High Pressure Science and Technology was established.
  • The Niigata research group of high-pressure applied food was launched by the suggestion of Prof. Nagahiro
    Ogasawara (Niigata Univ.) and Prof. Atsushi Suzuki (Niigata Univ.).
  • Prof. Ogasawara became a research consultant in Echigo Seika, which has accelerated the progress of studies on high pressure since then.
1990 High-pressure treated jam(MEIDI-YA)was launched in Japan as the first high-pressure processed product.
1991 High-pressure processed grape fruits juice was manufactured by Pokka Corporation.
1993 The Japan Society of High Pressure Science and Technology was registered as a research organization of the Science Council of Japan(SCJ).
1994 Echigo Seika launched rice cakes with mugwort treated with high pressure.
1995 Akira Yamazaki won the Niigata Technology Prize by the governor of for “Research and development of low allergenic cooked rice.”
  • Akira Yamazaki won the Technology Prize from Nippon Shokuhin Kagaku Kogaku Kai for “Development of Rice Food Products Processed by High Pressure Treatment.”
  • Facilities of high pressure treatment were completed in Echigo Seika Numata factory.
  • Echigo Seika launched sterilized packed cooked rice “Echigo no Gohan”.
  • The Research Association of High Pressure Technologies for the Creation of Future Industries was established in the Nagaoka Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
  • Under the president, Akira Yamazaki, practical researches for application of high-pressure treatment to food products have been started by 46 companies.
  • CGC Japan Co.,Ltd.,organized Pascalization Project(president: Akira Yamazaki), which prepared the sales network of high-pressure processed food products all over Japan.
  • A lecture on “Development and Industrialization of Pressure-Processed Foods” was given in the first Conference on High Pressure Bioscience and Biotechnology.
  • Based on a subsidy from the Mechanical Social Systems Foundation, the Research Association of High Pressure Technologies for the Creation of Future Industries developed new machinery and facilities for high-pressure processed food manufacturing system(in corporation with Echigo Seika Co.,Ltd.)
  • Akira Yamazaki received the Entrepreneur Award from the New Business Conference.
  • Akira Yamazaki won the prize “Shin-gijutsu shokuhin kaihatsu shou” from Japan Food News.
  • The Research Association of High Pressure Technologies for the Creation of Future Industries completed large-scale high-pressure treatment systems(130L×2) in Echigo Seika Miyauchi Factory.
  • CGC Japan Co.,Ltd., launched high-pressure processed cooked rice “CGC Choice Hakkoku-gohan”.
  • Akira Yamazaki et al., won the Technology Development Prize from the Japanese Society of Applied Glycoscience for “Using High Pressure Treatment for Research in Food Processing and Development of Cooked Rice.”
    • The project of “Development and industrialization of new functional food materials by use of high pressure treatment” was chosen as the Consortium R&D Project for Revitalization (supported by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry).
    • High-pressure processed cooked rice developed by Echigo Seika was launched under
          the private brand product ”CGC Choice Cooked Brown Rice” by CGC Japan Co., Ltd.

  • Echigo Seika won the 2004 Awards for Excellent Enterprises Active in the Industrial Property Rights System from Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
  • Akira Yamazaki won the Award of the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for achievement of development of high pressure treatment technologies for foods.
  • Echigo Seika launched high-pressure processed cooked rice “Hasshu Kokumotsu Gohan” and “Genmai Gohan”.
  • Miso product made from high-pressure processed brown rice and various grains developed by Echigo Seika
    was launched as the private brand product “CGC Choice Hakkoku Kouji Miso” by CGC Japan Co., Ltd.
2005 Echigo Seika began technical cooperation with Dongwon F&B, a Korean company, to produce sterilized packaged cooked rice using high-pressure treatment.
2007 The manufacturing plant for the packaged cooked rice products was begun production in Dongwon F&B in cooperation with the Research Association of High Pressure Technologies for the Creation of Future Industries.
2008 Production and sales of the packaged cooked rice by Dongwon F&B became successful.
2009 Akira Yamazaki won the Food Industry Distinguished Service Award from Japan Food Journal Co.,Ltd.
2010 Echigo Seika started to install the production facilities for the packaged cooked rice treated with high pressure in Echigo Seika Ojiya Factory .
2011 Echigo Seika launched high-pressure processed cooked rice “Nihon no Gohan”.
2013 “Nihon no Gohan” was awarded by Japan Food Journal Co.,Ltd.
  • High-Pressure Support Co.,Ltd. was established in April .
  • Akira Yamazaki et al., wrote “Application of High-Pressure Treatment to Enhancement of Functional Components in Agricultural Products” and “Application of High-Pressure Treatment to Development of Sterilized Foods”
  • A research team including Dr. Naoki Morimoto (Associate professor of department of plastic and reconstructive surgery, Kansai Medical University) and Dr. Tetsuji Yamaoka (Director of biomedical engineering department, National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center) have started clinical trial of the treatment of skin tissue regeneration for the patients with giant congenital melanocytic nevi, which was the first treatment using high pressure technology in the world. The apparatus for high-pressure treatment made by Echigo Seika was used.
  • The special scheme project on regional developing strategy: “Development of high value-added food, aiming to expand the consumption of agricultural products and livestock products grown in Kagoshima under partnerships among medicine, welfare, food and agriculture” has started, based in Kagoshima-Osumi Food Technology Development Center. This project was started by a consortium among industry, overnment and academia, specifically, consisting of 15 institutes and 21 private enterprises, with the apparatus for high-pressure treatment made by Echigo Seika introduced.
2017 A certification system of high-pressure processed food products was set up by Japan Health Business Federation (located in Niigata).