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Dr Farnaz Faridnia

Food Science

(Graduated December 2015)

Farnaz Faridinia

Impact of Pulsed Electric Fields (PEF) on permeabilization processes in solid biological materials.

Supervisors: Professor Indrawati Oey, Professor Phil Bremer and Assoc Prof David Burritt.


Farnaz is from Iran, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Food Science and Technology in 2004. She worked as a quality control manager and technical director in a food processing company for 3 years. In 2007, she commenced her Masters in Food Biotechnology at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), which resulted in a thesis entitled: "The binding of Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum G4 to Mutagenic/Carcinogenic Heterocyclic Aromatic Amines".

Farnaz is a student member of the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology (NZIFST), Institute of Food Technologies (IFT), the Otago Institute for the Arts and Sciences and the Royal Society of New Zealand. She is also the student representative of the IFT Non-thermal Processing Division (NPD) for Asia-Pacific (2014-2015).

She has been awarded the University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship since 2012 in support of her postgraduate study at the Department of Food Science. Her current research area of interest is non-thermal processing technology, especially in Pulsed Electric Field Processing (PEF) and its effects on food microstructure and quality attributes.

Project Outline

Microstructure determines the functionality and properties of foods, which could affect the texture, sensorial attributes and also nutritional value of foods. Food processing can alter the structure and composition of foods. In this context, pulsed electric fields (PEF), is used to obtain high-quality food not only with “fresh-like” characteristics, but also food with novel functionalities. The application of PEF involves subjecting the biological cell material to pulsed high voltage electric fields for a very short time (µs to ms), inducing pore formation and subsequent permeabilization of the cell membrane. The generation of transmembrane potential may cause reversible or permanent permeabilization of cell membranes, depending on the applied treatment intensity. This process is known as electroporation. Transient membrane permeabilization maintains cell viability and can be adopted in biotechnology and medicine for the delivery of drugs and genes into living cells. Irreversible cell disintegration results in the loss of cell vitality and presents an effective tool for mild pasteurization of liquid foods as well as for the enhancement of mass transfer effectiveness of intracellular substances such as extraction, drying and frying.

The applications of PEF to improve commercial meat and plant processing have been reported, however knowledge on the effect of PEF on food microstructure still needs to be extended. This research aims to gain a better understanding of the PEF-induced changes in the structure of plant and animal tissue with focus on the permeabilization at a cellular level during and after PEF treatments.


Faridnia, F., Hussin, A.S.M., Mustafa, S., Yee. L.Y., Saari, N. & Manap, M.Y.A. (2010). In Vitro binding of Mutagenic Heterocyclic Aromatic Amines by Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum G4. Journal of Beneficial Microbes, 1(2): 149-154.

Faridnia, F., Bekhit, A. E. D., Niven, B., & Oey, I. (2014). Impact of pulsed electric field and post-mortem vacuum ageing on beef longissimus thoracis muscles. International Journal of Food Science & Technology, 49(11): 2339–2347.

Faridnia, F., Ma, Q.L., Bremer, P., Burritt, D., Hamid, N., Oey, I. (2015). Effect of freezing as pre-treatment prior to pulsed electric field processing on quality traits of beef muscles. Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, 29: 31–40.

Faridnia, F., Burritt, D.J., Bremer, P.J., Oey, I. (2015). Innovative approach to determine the effect of pulsed electric fields on the microstructure of whole potato tubers: Use of cell viability, microscopic images and ionic leakage measurements. Food Research International, 77(3): 556-564.

Faridnia, F., Bremer, P.J., Burritt, D.J., Oey, I. (2015). Effects of Pulsed Electric Fields on Selected Quality Attributes of Beef Outside Flat (Biceps femoris). T. Jarm and P. Kramar (eds.), 1st World Congress on Electroporation and Pulsed Electric Fields in Biology, Medicine and Food & Environmental Technologies (WC 2015), IFMBE Proceedings 53, DOI: 10.1007/978-981-287-817-5_12.

Chapter in edited books:

Oey, I., Roohinejad, S., Leong, S.Y., Faridnia, F., Lee, P.Y. and Kethireddy, V. (2014). Pulsed Electric Field processing: Its technological opportunities and consumer perception. In: Food Processing Technologies: Impact on Product Attributes (ISBN: 978-1-4822-57540), (edited by A. Jaiswal) CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, Florida, USA.

Oey, I., Faridnia, F., Roohinejad, S., Leong, S.Y., Lee, P.Y., Kethireddy, V. (2014). Impact of high hydrostatic pressure processing at high temperature on safety, bioactives, volatiles and future outlook from consumers’ perspective. In: Food Processing Technologies: Impact on Product Attributes, (ISBN: 978-1-4822-57540) (edited by A. Jaiswal) CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, Florida, U.S.A.

Faridnia, F., Shuhaimi, M., Loong, Y.Y., Nazamid, S. and Yazid, A.M. (2009). Binding of mutagenic Heterocyclic Aromatic Amines with Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum G4, in vitro, Oral Presentation, 11th Asean Food Conference 2009, 21-23 October 2009, The Rizqun International Hotel, The Mall Abdul Razak Complex, Gadong Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam.

Faridnia, F. and Leong, S.Y. (2013). PEF applications for fruits, vegetables and meat. Non-thermal food processing: High Pressure Processing (HPP) and Pulsed Electric Field Processing (PEF) from research to industrial applications, NZIFST workshop, 14th March 2013, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Faridnia, F., Nazamid, S. and Yazid, A.M. (2010). The influence of mutagenic HCAs; Trp-p-2, MeIQx, IQ, PhIP, and 7, 8-DiMeIQx on Growth and Survival of B. Pseudocatenulatum G4. Poster Presentation, International Conference on Food Research, 22-24 November 2010, Putrajaya Marriott Hotel, IOI Resort, Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Faridnia, F. and Manap, M.Y.A. (2011) Anti-mutagenicity/Anti-carcinogenicity of Probiotics. Invention, Research and Innovation 2011 (PRPI 2011) Exhibition, 24-26 July 2011, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Serdang.

Faridnia, F., Selamat, J. (2011). “Allergenicity of Fermented Foods”, The 12th Asean Food Conference 2011, 16th‐18th June 2011, BITEC Bangna, Bangkok, Thailand, 456-472.

Faridnia, F. (2011) Effects of Fermentation on the Allergenicity of Foods, The First Iranian Students Scientific Conference in Malaysia, 9-10 April 2011, UPM Serdang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Faridnia, F. and Oey, I. (2013). Effect of Pulsed Electric Field Processing (PEF) on selected quality traits of beef longissimus dorsi muscles. NZIFST Annual Conference, Hastings, New Zealand, July 2nd-4th, 2013.

Faridnia, F., Oey, I., Bremer, P., & Burritt, D. (2014). Combined effects of pulsed electric field processing and ageing on selected quality attributes of beef outside flat (Biceps femoris). poster presentation and 2nd place competition winner at: 2014 Institute of Food Technologies (IFT) Annual meeting & Food Expo, June 21-24, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Faridnia, F., Burritt, D.J., Bremer, P.J. & Oey, I. (2015). Effects of Pulsed Electric Fields on Cell Permeability and Integrity of Potato Tubers. NZIFST Conference 2015, 30th June - 2nd July, Palmerston North Convention Centre, New Zealand.

Faridnia, F., Bremer, P., Burritt, D.J., Oey, I. (2015). Effects of Pulsed Electric Fields on Selected Quality Attributes of Beef Outside Flat (Biceps femoris). 1st World Congress on Electroporation and Pulsed Electric Fields in Biology, Medicine and Food & Environmental Technologies, September 6th - 10th, 2015, Portorož, Slovenia [Young Investigators Competition Finalist].