High pressure treatment of organic materials was introduced several years ago by Japanese researchers as a means to preserve food. Application potentials are also envisaged in the field of waste treatment. Hygienization effects, for instance, are achieved, when microbially contaminated samples are placed into an isostatic press and exposed, at room temperature, to a pressure of 4,000 bars and above. Deformation of the biopolymers under those extreme pressure conditions leads to effects such as coagulation, denaturation of proteins, crystallisation and/or gelatinization (Heremans 1992). As a result the microorganisms lose viability within a few minutes.

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