“Products for the Arctic” – this is how you can conditionally call the work that, among 12 other winners, received the prize of the Russian government in the field of science and technology. As the summary says, “new technologies and efficient equipment for the processing and storage of agricultural raw materials, monitoring systems and quality management of food products, which ensure the health of the nation, import substitution and food safety in Russia, have been created and implemented.”
But the authors themselves put special emphasis on the Arctic. After all, this region is one of Russia’s long-term development priorities. Today, many institutes are creating new modern equipment that will allow them to work in the most difficult northern conditions more efficiently and quickly, without causing damage to sensitive nature. But the development of these territories is not only and much less “hardware”. First of all, these are people who need to create the most comfortable conditions in the Arctic.
– Now in these areas the influx of the population without disabilities from different regions of the country has already begun. They should be given normal, nutritious food, says the head of the award-winning team, Professor of Rosbiotech Gennady Semenov. -Each person has his own preference, his own “menu”. But it is extremely difficult to satisfy these tastes in northern conditions, especially with fresh products, because delivery here is a big problem.
Scientists have proposed a variant of their solution: sublimated products. They are obtained by vacuum lyophilization. The product is first frozen, then vacuum dehydrated to a few percent moisture content. This technology preserves 85-95 percent of the vitamins and nutrients. Refrigerators are not required for storage. In an airtight package, these products can be stored for several years. In addition, its mass is reduced many times. Let’s say a plant product contains about 90 percent moisture, so 1kg of “sublimation” is obtained from 10kg of the original product. This means that the weight of the cargo during transportation is reduced many times. Please note that dried berries and fruits can be added to cereals, muesli, snacks, etc. And this is a huge market.
Some may remember that freeze drying has a history of 100 years. That our scientist Alexander Lappa-Starzhenetsky received a patent for this technology at the beginning of the 20th century. That in the USSR several factories produced such products. But in the 90s, some of the companies were closed, some remained in the former republics. So the industry had to be recreated. To do this, a combined science and business team was formed. He was able to turn ideas into “iron”, create fundamentally new production facilities with modern equipment, improve technologies, expand the range of products and their scale.
Up to 95 percent of the vitamins remain in the sublimated product
– We have created special product formulations for people with high loads, in particular athletes, as well as for those who work in difficult conditions, – says Semenov. – For this, digital twins of products were created, on which we select the best combinations of components.
Even before the imposition of sanctions, Russian sublimated products drove the Italians and Germans out of our market, and they are starting to push the Chinese out. So they are working on import substitution in its entirety.