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Software for freeze-drying process design and optimization


Key words Freeze-drying, optimisation, modelling, process design, bacteria preservation, quality
Latest version 2013/09/05
Completed by INRA - IATE, INRA - GMPA

How does it work?

Primary objective Product quality optimization and environmental impact reduction.
Working principle Freeze-drying (=lyophilisation) is widely used for stabilisation of thermo-sensitive, high added-value products such as pharmaceuticals, proteins, cells, micro-organisms and food. Freeze-drying is a dehydration process in which water and other solvents are removed from a frozen material, through the following steps: freezing, primary drying (sublimation), and secondary drying (desorption). The product is stable at room temperature, conserves its appearance, shape and biological activity, and is easily rehydrated.

Virtual simulation of freeze-drying cycles is needed in order to optimise time-dependent process operating conditions. The simulation software integrates the characteristics of the freeze-drying apparatus, the product to dry and the final expected product quality (3, 4, 6).

Additional effects
  • Higher final product quality
  • Long-term stability
  • Increased process throughput
  • Energy savings
Important process parameters characteristics of the freeze-drying machine: heat and mass transfer resistances, geometry; these characteristics must be provided to the software.
Important product parameters characteristics of the product to be dried: composition, state diagram, structure of the dried porous layer and expected final quality such as long term stability, preservation of biological activity, etc.

What can it be used for?

  • Commonly freeze-dried food products: coffee, herbs, soups, etc.
  • Highly thermosensitive products: microorganisms, cells, active proteins
Operations Stabilizing, preservation, dehydration
Solutions for short comings
  • Natural preservation process (without additives)
  • Optimize the freeze drying process, saving time, energy and enhancing the product quality

What can it NOT be used for?

Products Dry food products
Operations This technology only applies for freeze-drying processes.
Other limitations This technology mainly applies to high added value products.
Risks or hazards Not known


Maturity Registered software: LyoptM (patented by INRA-GMPA), commercially available.

INRA-GMPA provides expertise to formulate and characterize products, to characterise freeze dryers and to develop freeze-drying cycles, optimised from the point of view of the expected product quality and productivity.

Modularity /Implementation This technology is complementary to the existing production lines.
Consumer aspects Perceived product quality is potentially increased (1, 2).
Legal aspects Registered software: LyoptM (INRA, IDDN.FR.001.100008.000.R.P.2009.000.20700)

Please check local legislation.

Environmental aspects Energy savings up to 30% compared to conventional recipes (5).

Further Information

Institutes INRA - GMPA, AgroParisTech
Companies BIOVAL Process
  1. Passot S. , Fonseca F., Cenard S., Douania I., and Tréléa I.C., 2011. Quality degradation of lactic acid bacteria during the freeze drying process: Experimental study and mathematical modelling, ICEF 10, International Congress of Engineering and Food, Athens, Greece, 2011.
  1. Passot S., Douania I., Cenard S., Fonseca F., and Tréléa .C., 2010. Modeling for risk assessment of quality failures: Application to microorganisms, The Freeze Drying of Pharmaceuticals and Biologicals Conference, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, 2010.
  1. Passot S., Tréléa I.C. and Fonseca F., 2009. User-friendly modelling of the freeze-drying process. Visiogain, Lyophilisation Conference. London, United Kingdom, September 16-17.
  1. Passot S., Fonseca F., Marin M. and Tréléa I.C., 2008. User-friendly modelling of the freeze-drying process. The Freeze Drying of Pharmaceuticals and Biologicals Conference. Breckenridge, Colorado, USA, August 6-9.
  1. Trelea I.C., Passot S., Fonseca F. and Marin M., 2007. An interactive tool for freeze-drying cycle optimisation including quality criteria. Drying Technology, 25, 741-751.
  1. Passot S., Tréléa I.C., Fonseca F., Barbouche N. and Marin M., 2006. Integration of glass transition in freeze-drying kinetic modelling to improve protein stability. 13th World Congress on food science and technology IUFOST, Nantes, France, September 17-21.

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Created by Hte inra on 2 April 2012, at 16:59