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Nitesh Yadav

Extrusion cooking is the process of cooking
moistened starchy and/or proteinous food material by a combination of heat, pressure and mechanical shear. Extrusion is a process which combines several unit operations including mixing, cooking, kneading, shearing, shaping and forming. Extrusion provides the foundation for continuous production.

Food extrusion machines use single or twin screws to

transport, mix, knead, shear, shape, and/or cook multiple ingredients into a uniform food product by forcing the ingredient mix through shaped dies to produce specific shapes and lengths.

Food extruders are used to produce pasta and other cold

formed products, cereals, snacks, pet food, feed, confectionery products (including licorice), modified starches for soup, baby food, and instant foods, beverage bases, and texturized vegetable proteins.

Single-screw extruders have been in use for continuous

cooking and in the forming of ready-to-eat (RTE) cereals as a one-step process since the 1960s. Twin-screw extruders were in common use in food production by the 1980s.

Principles of operation

Raw materials are fed into the extruder barrel

and the screw(s) they convey the food along it. Further down the barrel, a smaller flight restricts the volume and increase the resistance to movement of the food. As a result, it fills the barrel and the space between the screw flights and becomes compressed. As it moves further along the barrel, the screw kneads the material into a semi-solid, plasticized mass.

Here, frictional heat and any additional heating

that is used cause the temperature to rise rapidly.

The food is then passed to the section of the

barrel having the smallest flights, where pressure and shearing is further increased.

Finally, it is forced through one or more

restricted openings (dies) at the discharge end of the barrel.

As the food emerges under pressure from the die, it expands to the final shape and cools rapidly as moisture is flashed off as steam.

A variety of shapes, including rods, spheres,

doughnuts, tubes strips, squirals or shells can be formed.

Typical products include a variety of low density,

expanded snack foods and ready to eat (RTE) puffed cereals.

Classification of Extruders
Method of operation
cold extruders extruder cookers

Method of construction
single screw extruders twin screw extruders

Cold extrusion, in which the temperature of the

food remains at ambient is used to mix and shape foods such as pasta and meat products.

Low pressure extrusion, at temperature below

100C, is used to produce, for example, liquorice, fish pastes, surimi and pet foods.

Extrusion cooking is a high-temperature shorttime (HTST) process which reduces microbial contamination and inactivates enzymes.

Basic Components of a Food Extruder

A feeding unit or storage bin above the extruder that meters the
raw ingredients into the extruder. Pre-conditioner : assembly sometimes used to adjust the moisture content and temperature of ingredients (may partially or completely cook them before entering the extruder). Extruder barrel: a pipe-like retainer in which the screw turns. The barrel may be built in sections that contain their own heating or cooling sleeve. Screw: the core of any extruder, the screw conveys the product through the extruder. The flight of the screw pushes product forward. The screw determines not only the quality of the product but also the output of the extruder. Extruders can use either a single screw or twin screws.

Vent: an opening in the barrel before the die plate that

allows pressure and steam to be removed. Die plate: final assembly for shaping the product as it leaves the extruder. Cutting station: ensures precise and consistent shape and size of product. Gear box, motor, and controls

Most extruders used for food processing are constructed of stainless steel.

Popularity Gained in Extrusion

Versatility. A very wide variety of products are
possible by changing the ingredients, the operating conditions of the extruder and the shape of the dies. Many extruded foods cannot be easily produced by other method. Reduced costs. Extrusion has lower processing costs and higher productivity than other cooking or forming processes.

High production rates and automatic production.

Extruders operate continuously and have high throughputs. For example, production rates of up to 315 kgh-1 for snack foods, 1200kgh-1 for low density cereals and 9000 kgh-1 for dry expanded pet foods are possible.

Product quality. Extrusion involves high temperatures

applied for a short time and the limited heat treatment therefore retains many heat sensitive components.

No process effluents. Extrusion is a low moisture

process that does not produce process effluents. This eliminates water treatment costs and does not create problems of environmental pollution.

Food Benefits
Starch gelatinization Protein denaturation Inactivation of raw food enzymes Destruction of naturally occurring toxins Diminishing of microorganisms in the final

Operating characteristics
Temperature Pressure Diameter of die apparatus Shear rate

Advantages of Extrusion in Food Processing

The advantage of extrusion is that it
produces a more homogeneous and consistent cooking process, which leads to a final product of higher quality with minimum waste.

Extrusion is a very efficient process, since

all steps can be done in-line: mixing, cooking, forming, cooling, and cutting.

Many extruders with modular designs

allow changing from one product to another product, color, or shape to be done within minutes-a significant process efficiency.

Twin-screw extruders are largely self-

cleaning, an advantage from the viewpoint of both sanitation and labor savings.

Work continuously

Twin-Screw Food Extruder

Twin screw extruder two screws, side by side,
are placed within the extruder barrel; they are either counter-rotating or co-rotating. The co-rotating units are used for compounding materials where thorough mixing and high output rates are important. Twin screw extruder unit resembles a positive displacement screw pump. It conveys the material at low speeds with controlled shear. Positive action assures that all portions of the material experience a uniform residence time.

1. Counter-rotating twin-screw extruders

(move in opposing directions) 2. Co-rotating twin-screw extruders (move in same direction)

Counter-rotating twin-screw extruders are commonly used

for processing relatively non-viscous materials requiring low speeds and long residence times, such as gum, jelly, and licorice confections. Co-rotating twin-screw extruders have broadened the variety of products that can be made with extrusion technology and are commonly used in the snack food industry. They provide a high degree of heat transfer but not forced conveyance.

Single-Screw Food Extruder

Single-screw extruders typically consist of three
zones: feeding zone, kneading zone, cooling zone. In general, single-screw extruders have poor mixing ability and therefore materials should be pre-mixed or pre-conditioned. A single-screw extruders processing conditions can be controlled to achieve a variety of effects on temperature and residence time.

The residence time in the barrel can vary

from 15 to 300 seconds, determined by increasing or decreasing the speed of the shaft. Single-screw extruders are limited in their ability to transport sticky and/or gummy raw materials, and materials that become sticky during heat compression. A variety of fried and baked snacks are processed using single-screw extruders.

Low Shear Stress Extruders

Low shear stress extruders (forming
extruders) are used to densify material that is generally high in moisture, such as pasta. They operate at a slow speed and feature a long length-to-diameter ratio, imparting low levels of mechanical energy per unit of throughput.

Medium Shear Stress Extruders

Medium shear stress extruders handle
materials with a lower moisture level and mechanical energy inputs are higher. Typical products processed are pet food, aquatic feeds, and textured vegetable proteins.

High Shear Stress Extruders

High shear stress extruders are used for
highly expanded products with low moisture and bulk density levels. They feature the shortest length-todiameter ratio and extruder speeds and mechanical energy inputs are high.

Effect on Foods
1) Sensory Characteristics
Extent of changes to starch determined by the
operating conditions and feed materials, produces the wide range of product textures that can be achieved. The HTST conditions in extrusion cooking have only minor effects on the natural colour and flavour of foods.

Fading of colour due to product expansion,

excessive heat or reactions with proteins, reducing sugars or metal ions may be problem in some extruded foods. Added flavours are mixed with ingredients before cold extrusion, but this is largely unsuccessful in extrusion cooking as the flavours are volatilesed when the food emerges from the die. Flavours are therefore more often applied to the surface of extruded foods in the form of sprayed emulsions or viscous slurries. However, this may cause stickiness in some products and hence require additional drying.

Effect on Foods
2) Nutritional value
Vitamin losses in extruded foods vary according

to type of foods, the moisture content, the temperature of processing and the holding time. Losses are minimal in cold extrusion The HTST conditions in extrusion cooking, and the rapid cooling as the product emerges from the die, cause relatively small losses of most vitamins and essential amino acids.

Losses of ascorbic acid and -carotene are up to

50% depending upon the time that the food is held at elevated temperatures High temperature and presence of sugar cause Maillard browning and a reduction in protein quality. Low temperatures and low concentration of sugars results in increase in protein digestibility, owing to rearrangement of the protein structure. Destruction of anti-nutritional components in soya products improves the nutritive value of texturized vegetable proteins.

Type of Snack Foods

Cheese puffs/Cheese curls Cheese balls Corn chips and Tortilla chips Crispy rice Crackers Confectionary Extruded bread Co-extruded snack Bugles snack Fryums Pet snack Dog chews/treats Fish feed Bread crumbs

Uses of Extrusion in Industry- Pasta

Pasta production relies mainly on the process of

extrusion, e.g. macaroni Low temperatures and pressure are needed to keep the pasta from cooking.

Uses of Extrusion in Industry- Snacks

The production of snack products is a rapidly growing

area. High temperatures and pressures are necessary to produce the snacks. The gelatinised starch ensures that when the mixture expands by going from high pressure to low pressure it holds its expanded shape.