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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Pasteurization \Pas*teur`i*za"tion\, n. A process devised by Pasteur for preventing or checking fermentation in fluids, such as wines, milk, etc., by exposure to a temperature of 140[deg] F., thus destroying the vitality of the contained germs or ferments.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1885, from pasteurize + -ation.


n. (alternative spelling of pasteurisation English)


n. partial sterilization of foods at a temperature that destroys harmful microorganisms without major changes in the chemistry of the food [syn: pasteurisation]


Pasteurization or pasteurisation is a process that kills microbes (mainly bacteria) in food and drink, such as milk, juice, canned food, and others.

It was invented by French scientist Louis Pasteur during the nineteenth century. In 1864 Pasteur discovered that heating beer and wine was enough to kill most of the bacteria that caused spoilage, preventing these beverages from turning sour. The process achieves this by eliminating pathogenic microbes and lowering microbial numbers to prolong the quality of the beverage. Today, pasteurisation is used widely in the dairy industry and other food processing industries to achieve food preservation and food safety.

Unlike sterilization, pasteurization is not intended to kill all microorganisms in the food. Instead, it aims to reduce the number of viable pathogens so they are unlikely to cause disease (assuming the pasteurized product is stored as indicated and is consumed before its expiration date). Commercial-scale sterilization of food is not common because it adversely affects the taste and quality of the product. Certain foods, such as dairy products, may be superheated to ensure pathogenic microbes are destroyed.

Usage examples of "pasteurization".

My opinion - and it's an opinion of course, based on experience - is only to focus on the chemical compounds that are beneficial, but those could be artificial (even refined - Pasteurization is refinement for example) as well.