The invention of pasteurization (1865)

The invention of pasteurization (1865)

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The pasteurization is a process attributed to Louis Pasteur who used it in 1865 to preserve wine thanks to the destruction of its germs. This process, which allows preservation without changing the composition, flavor or nutritional value of the liquid, was actually developed in 1795 by Nicolas Appert who already applied it to milk, wine and beer.

Nicolas Appert, the precursor of the invention of pasteurization

It is therefore in 1795 that the process was first developed, by Nicolas Appert, French inventor who died almost a hundred years old. This man had found a way to canning food, by filling glass bottles to the brim and then sealing them tightly. It was then sufficient to heat them in a water bath to give them a longevity hitherto unmatched. This process was named "Appertization". Its main interest is to keep the foods thus preserved intact and to preserve their taste qualities. In 1810, he published a work popularizing his method, the Book of all households, or the art of preserving for several years all animal and vegetable substances.

Louis Pasteur: Napoleon, wine and milk

It was, at the request of Napoleon III, by studying the diseases of wine which disrupted French trade that Louis Pasteur invented pasteurization in 1863. He observed that the deterioration of wine, due to microorganisms interfering in the process. winemaking time, is considerably reduced when the liquid is heated to around 55 ° C and not placed in contact with air.

The bacteria, in particular the bacilli responsible for tuberculosis and brucellosis, two diseases transmitted by the milk of sick cows, are in fact destroyed. Industrial pasteurization is immediately introduced in order to sterilize large quantities of liquids (wine, beer, cider, milk).

In the 20th century, new preservation techniques appeared, such as dehydration, but sterilization by heat remained one of the most widely used processes, especially since, at the same time, with the use of aluminum, the cans of preserves became lighter, and their opening was facilitated.

For further


- Nicolas Appert: Inventor and humanist, by Jean-Paul Barbier. Royer, 1994.

- The lives of pasteurization: Stories, knowledge, actions (1865-2015). University Publishing of Dijon, 2015.

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