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Apple juice, for its sensory and nutritional qualities, is consumed by people of all ages. Apples are an excellent source of several phenolic compounds and the presence of polyphenols is recognized for their health promoting antioxidant properties. Thermal pasteurization of fruit juices is the conventional method used for their preservation. Therefore, this constitutes the most extensively available methods for the inactivation of microorganisms in fruit juices but it causes side effects on their flavour and nutritional quality. Consumers tend to prefer recently extracted juices with fresh taste and minimal flavor or vitamin losses. To meet consumers’ demand, among the novel technologies that involve non-thermal processes, power ultrasound have been investigated as an alternative to conventional heat treatments. Objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the use of ultrasound in an attempt to maintain the organoleptic characteristics typical of a natural apple juice. In particular, it was evaluated the action on the microflora residing and shelf life of the product through microbiological and sensory analyses. Juice treated with ultrasound highlighted a reduction of aerobic mesophilic counts and psychrophilic bacteria respectively about 3 and 5 log CFU/mL and an enhanced yeast growth. The general opinion expressed by the panelist was in favour of the sonicated juice. This preliminary study showed that non-thermal methods such as power ultrasound technology may give new opportunities to develop fresh-like apple juice.
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