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Project Title:  Reheating and Sterilization Technology for Food, Waste and Water Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2008 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP :
Start Date: 07/01/2003  
End Date: 09/30/2008  
Task Last Updated: 01/13/2009 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Sastry, Sudhir  Ph.D. / Ohio State University 
Address:  206 Agricultural Engineering Bldg. 
590 Woody Hayes Dr. 
Columbus , OH 43210 
Email: sastry.2@osu.edu 
Phone: 614-292-3508  
Congressional District: 15 
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: Ohio State University 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Yousef, Ahmed  The Ohio State University 
Perchonok, Michele  NASA JSC 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: Original contract had a subcontract with Virginia Tech. This was since cancelled, since the graduate student involved departed the university, stalling progress on that component.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. NAG9 – 1508 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor:  
Center Contact:   
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2002 Space Biology 02-OBPR-01 
Grant/Contract No.: NAG9 – 1508 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:
Human Research Program Elements: None
Human Research Program Risks: None
Human Research Program Gaps: None
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: Received NCE to 9/30/2008 per PI (9/07)

Task Description: Long-duration space missions require high-quality, nutritious foods, which will need reheating to serving temperature, or sterilization on an evolved planetary base. The package is generally considered to pose a disposal problem after use. We propose herein the development of a dual-use package wherein the food may be rapidly reheated in situ using the technology of ohmic heating. We propose to make the container reusable, so that after food consumption, the package is reused to contain and sterilize waste. This approach will reduce Equivalent System Mass (ESM) by using a compact heating technology, and reducing mass requirements for waste storage.

Our objectives are to 1) develop and optimize a reusable container and system for processing food and waste products by ohmic heating; 2) test the device for efficacy in sterilizing plant foods and waste products; 3) test the device for efficacy in reheating packaged shelf-stable foods; 4) test the heating system for efficacy in heating water for crew use, when not being used for heating food; 5) establish the oxygen and moisture barrier requirements for longer-term food storage; and 6) develop procedures and test methods to ensure hermetic seal for thermostabilized food containers.

Our approach will involve the development of a package with two electrically conducting ends and an electrically insulating wall, which will serve as a combination package and ohmic heater. We propose to study properties of food and waste to ensure the appropriate process strategy; study the critical issues of elimination of electrolytic bubble formation and microgravity feasibility; verification via heat transfer and microbiological studies of the efficacy of sterilization; study the potential for using the same technology for heating water for personal use; and study the attributes of the container necessary for long shelf life.

1. Develop and optimize a reusable container and system for processing food and waste products by ohmic heating. This includes Optimization of package and enclosure to minimize ESM Optimization of power input conditions to eliminate gas production. Optimization of current density to eliminate arcing. Optimization for use under microgravity conditions.

2. Test the device for efficacy in sterilizing plant foods and waste products.

3. Test the device for efficacy in reheating packaged shelf-stable foods.

4. Test the heating system for efficacy in heating water for crew use, when not being used for heating food.

5. Establish the oxygen and moisture barrier requirements for longer-term food storage.

6. Develop procedures and test methods to ensure hermetic seal for thermostabilized food containers.

Research will help address the following Critical Path Roadmap Risks and Questions:

Risk No. 38. Crew nutritional requirements may not be met and crew health and performance compromised due to inadequate food acceptability, preparation, processing and storage systems.

38d. What food processing technologies are required when using crops and stored staple ingredients to ensure a system that is nutritious, safe and acceptable?

This study is the first step in developing better quality products. We will conduct informal tests to determine if quality is superior. Indeed, prior experience with ohmically heated products indicates this to be the case. However, the scope of the present project’s deliverables do not allow for Human Subjects testing, and this will have to be left for another project. 38e. What food packaging materials will provide the physical and chemical attributes, including barrier properties, to protect the food from the outside environment, and assure the 3-5 year shelf life?

We are currently working with military grade MRE pouches, which are designed to provide barriers compatible with a 3-5 year shelf life. We fully expect that a sterile product produced under these conditions will meet the shelf-life requirement.

38f. What food packaging will be biodegradable, easily processed, or be lighter in mass than the current packaging, and still provide the physical and chemical attributes including barrier properties to protect the food from the outside environment, and assure the 3-5 year shelf life?

In light of our current work, we believe that this question may be rephrased as:

What food packaging will be reusable, light in mass, still provide the physical and chemical attributes including barrier properties to protect the food from the outside environment, and assure the 3-5 year shelf life?

Risk No. 41. Crew health may be compromised due to inability of currently available technology to adequately process solid wastes reliably with minimum power, mass, volume. Inadequate waste management can also lead to contamination of planetary surfaces.

Specific questions addressed include:

41a. What system will meet the storage and/or disposal requirements for specified missions?

Our study indicates that a system for ohmic heating within packages will enable storage and disposal for long-duration (Mars) missions.

41e. What system will meet the requirements for managing residuals for planetary protection?

Biological residuals may be contained and sterilized within spent food packaging materials, as indicated by our preliminary studies. We expect to address this question further during the coming year.

41i How do partial and microgravity affect biological waste processing?

We will be addressing this subject in part within this study, but cannot verify it without a flight experiment. For the moment, we have been looking into bubble generation within our package/heater system.

41o. What resources are required to manage waste disposal as an environmental risk during long and remote missions (from EH)?

Capability for containment and sterilization is necessary. This capability may be met by reusable food packaging, and our system fits this need. The mass balance on a human being (Hanford and Ewert, 2002) also indicates that the total mass of fecal waste is far smaller than the total food intake. Thus, over time, we would expect a surplus of containers. Those containers not used for waste containment could be reused for packaging of food produced on an evolved planetary base.

41s. How should wastes be handled or stored to avoid perception such as bad odors or unsightly appearance that would adversely affect crew quality or life and consequent degradation in performance?

Our project addresses this issue, since we intend to contain and sterilize human wastes within reused packaging material. Since food packaging is designed with barrier properties in mind, it should be effective in waste containment as well. Our preliminary tests indicate that this is feasible, but further tests in the coming year will verify this finding.

41t. What waste management systems will prevent release of biological material (cells or organic chemicals that are signs of life) from contaminating a planetary surface, such as the Martian surface, and compromising the search for indigenous life?

As discussed above. Our system offers this capability. Once adequately sterilized, the waste can no longer contaminate its environment.

41w. What is the probability that microorganisms in biological wastes such as food scraps or feces could be altered or mutated by the space environment radiation to become harmful or pathogenic? What can prevent this?

Again, adequate containment and sterilization, both of which are being addressed in this project. If waste is sterile, no such problem will exist, and the question will no longer be relevant.

41x. What containment vessels will be sufficient to prevent escape of stored waste at various mission locations such as planetary surfaces or crew cabins?

Containers of the MRE-type will answer such issues. Again, the assurance of sterility and container integrity are key.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: The pouch concept has been shown to heat foods uniformly, which is a first step to improved product quality, whether for earth-based processing or for processing harvested products on a planetary base. Further, the pouch shows improved stackability and reduced ESM compared to current heater concepts.

Work on this project has also resulted in the development of a universal cell for determination of microbial inactivation kinetics under alternative processes such as ohmic heating, which has shown that ohmic heating accelerates the inactivation rate of G. stearothermophilus over and above that of heat alone.

The concept of an electrode-equipped pouch is currently being investigated by a private company for potential commercialization as a beverage warming device. We are working with them to help develop the concept further.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2008 
Task Progress: Long-duration space missions require high-quality, nutritious foods, which will need reheating to serving temperature, or sterilization on an evolved planetary base. The package is generally considered to pose a disposal problem after use. We developed a dual-use package wherein the food may be rapidly reheated in situ using the technology of ohmic heating. We container was intended to be reusable, so that after food consumption, the package could be reused to contain and sterilize waste. This approach will reduce Equivalent System Mass (ESM) by using a compact heating technology, and reducing mass requirements for waste storage.

The food pouch, made of multilayered laminate was developed for this purpose. The first prototype of the ohmic technology was fabricated by pasting aluminum foil electrodes inside a Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) packet. The pouch had two extended portions of electrode coming out of the top seal, serving as tabs for making electric connection with an external circuit. Three different electrode configurations were tested with a two dimensional heat transfer model using Fluent computational fluid dynamics software (v 6.2, Fluent Inc., Lebanon, New Hampshire). CFD codes with User Defined Functions (UDFs) for electric field equations were used for the transient model. Simulation of the electric field potential inside the pouch concluded that V-shaped electrodes configuration was best out of the three options and had the cold zones reduced to 2% of the cross-sectional area. Tomato soup was successfully heated to the serving temperatures (up to 80°C) inside the V-shaped electrodes pouch.

To improve understanding of heating profile inside an ohmic pouch, a three dimensional model was also developed. The simulated heating pattern was verified by inserting thermocouples inside the pouch and was found to be in good accordance with the actual temperature profile. Details have been described in published work.

The second generation of the ohmic pouch had electrodes coming out through the sides instead of the top seal. Aluminum foil electrodes were changed with stainless steel foil electrodes which eliminated any visible gas production at the electrode-food interface.

An important aspect of the ohmic pouch technology is reuse of the used food pouches to contain and stabilize waste. Depending on the mission protocol waste may be jettisoned or stored. In case of jettison the waste will be stored the appropriate time, for which sterilization of the biological waste should be done to prevent risk of pathogenic outbreak. The ohmic pouch presents a promising solution to this problem by using the used food pouches (which currently accounts for 50% of the total trash dry mass generated on ISS and Shuttles) to contain the remaining waste including biological and sterilize it. A simple mass balance calculation based on the metabolic interface values for crew members [6] suggested that total food dry matter intake (0.617 kg/CM-d solids and 3.909 kg/CM-d water) is more than the potential solid waste load (0.2 kg/CM-d), with the remaining water being recycled. Thus, over time, even when used for waste containment and sterilization, an excess of containers would be available for other uses, for example, containing and sterilizing foods grown on planetary surfaces.

Solid human waste was successfully sterilized inside a V-shaped electrodes pouch with tabs through the sides. The sterilized pouch was stored at normal room temperature conditions for more than 2 years without any visible gas production due to surviving micro-organisms.

A polycarbonate enclosure was developed to facilitate application of external pneumatic pressure during sterilization at temperatures above 100°C. The enclosure also had a provision for water based cooling, to cool the sterilized food (or waste). Separate enclosures are expected to be used for sterilization of food products and waste, for sanitary and psychological reasons.

The pulsed power supply system was able to minimize gas bubble formation inside the pouch with stainless steel electrodes. A supporting electronic system was also developed to facilitate pulsed ohmic heating (square waves at 10 kHz with a duty cycle of 0.2). Analysis of metal ions such as Cr, Fe, Ni, Mn and Mo (constituents of stainless steel) showed that metal ion concentration in food was below the upper level daily dietary exposure limits.

An uneven heating pattern was not a hindrance for waste sterilization as quality was not an issue, but uniform temperature profile is critical for food sterilization in order to obtain high quality products. Ideally flat and parallel electrodes present a homogeneous electric field resulting in uniform heating of an ohmic reactor. The initial V-shaped electrodes pouch was redesigned into a parallel flat electrode shape to obtain uniform electric field and heating pattern. The pouch thus obtained had rectangular prism geometry. Stainless steel foil electrodes were folded at the top to pass through the top seal. A pouch of dimensions 11.8cm x 10.7cm x 2cm was found best to hold a standard meal of 8 oz. (227 g) at high temperature-pressure conditions. The rectangular prism geometry also improved the stack-ability of the pouches inside a stowage tray.

An inoculated pack study using 107 cfu/ml of Geobacillus stearothermophilus spores (ATCC 7953) in potato soup base was done to validate sterilization. Duplicate samples at four different holding times (0, 6.0, 8.0 and 10.0 min) were taken at a temperature of 121°C. A maximum log reduction of 1.6 obtained at 6.0 min holding time predicted presence of under processed zones and warranted a further investigation of the pouch design.

The error analysis showed that folding of electrode tabs and presence of a triangular prism extending outside cross-sections of the electrodes were the reasons behind under processing. Folding of the electrode tabs brought them closer creating points of low potential difference and subsequently forming cold zones in folded corners. Presence of a triangular prism shaped area outside of the electrodes created cold zones at the non-electrode sides of the pouch.

Zones of underprocessing from a rectangular prism geometry pouch were finally removed by sealing of the shoulder flaps, thereby eliminating the triangular prism part and forming a flat portion on non-electrode sides. Two slide-in tabs were integrated at the backside of electrodes on outer part of the pouch. An electrical connection between the electrode and tab was made through the laminate material instead of passing via seal. Theoretically, the rectangular prism geometry with slide-in tabs removed all zones of uneven heating possible inside an ohmic pouch. The new tab design made the pouch compatible to a slide-in type enclosure. This greatly improved ease of placing the pouch in the enclosure and removal after the end of treatment. The pouch showed minimal deformation at 145°C (under 45 psi) and at 90°C (at atmospheric conditions). This pouch design and method of connection has been disclosed as an addendum to our original invention disclosure. The concept is currently under consideration for commercialization by an external company.

Sterilization of food was tested through an inoculated pack study using tomato soup with 107 cfu/ml of Geobacillus stearothermophilus spores (ATCC 7953), for which the generally reported D-values are 20 times more than that of Clostridium botulinum spores. A log reduction of 3.65 obtained at 130°C for a holding time of 2 minutes confirmed a kill equivalent to commercial sterilization.

A lighter version of the ohmic technology for food warming was developed and compared with the existing suitcase type food heater currently used by NASA. Equivalent system mass (ESM) for the ohmic system (without accounting for the reusability feature) was much lower (839 kg) than the suitcase type heater (3475 kg) for the Mars Transit Vehicle of the Independent Exploration Mission. ESM of the ohmic technology for the Orion spacecraft (CEV) of the Near-Term Exploration Mission was calculated to be 89 kg.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 08/08/2019) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Sastry SK, Marcy JE, Yousef AE, Perchonok MH. "Reheating and sterilization technology for food, waste and water." IFT (Institute of Food Technologists) Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, July 12-16, 2004.

IFT (Institute of Food Technologists) Annual Meeting, July 2004. Abstract No. 90-3. , Jul-2004

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Jun S, Sastry S, Perchonok M. "Reusable Pouch Development for Long-Term Space Mission: 3D Ohmic Model for Verification of Sterility Efficacy." Habitation 2006 Conference, Orlando, FL, Feb. 5-8, 2006.

Habitation 2006;10(3-4):181-2. Presentation HLS-45. , Jan-2006

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Sastry S, Jun S, Somavat R, Yousef AE, Rodriguez-Romo L, Samaranayake C, Perchonok M. "A Reusable Package/Heater for Long-Duration Space Missions." Presented at the NASA Human Research Program Investigators' Workshop, Houston, TX, February, 2007.

NASA Human Research Program Investigators' Workshop, Houston, TX, February, 2007. , Feb-2007

Articles in Other Journals or Periodicals Pandit RB, Somavat R, Jun S, Heskitt B, Sastry SK. "Development of a light weight ohmic food warming unit for a Mars Exploration Vehicle." World of Food Science. 2007;2:1-15. https://www.idc-online.com/technical_references/pdfs/electrical_engineering/developmentfoodmars.pdf , Oct-2007
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Sastry SK, Jun S, Somavat R, Samaranayake C, Yousef AE, Pandit RB. "Heating and Sterilization Technology for Long-Duration Space Missions: Transport Processes in a Reusable Package." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, in press 2009. , Jan-2009
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Jun S, Sastry S. "Modeling and optimization of ohmic heating of foods inside a flexible package." Journal of Food Process Engineering. 2005 Aug;28(4):417-36. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-4530.2005.00032.x , Aug-2005
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Jun S, Sastry S. "Reusable pouch development for long term space missions: A 3D ohmic model for verification of sterilization efficacy." Journal of Food Engineering. 2007 Jun;80(4):1199–205. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2006.09.018 , Jun-2007
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Jun S, Sastry S, Samaranayake C. "Migration of electrode components during ohmic heating of foods in retort pouches." Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies. 2007 Jun;8(2):237-43. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ifset.2007.01.001 , Jun-2007
Papers from Meeting Proceedings Jun S, Heskitt BF, Sastry SK, Mahna R, Marcy JE, Perchonok MH. "Reheating and sterilization technology for food, waste and water: design and development considerations for package and enclosure." 35th International Conference on Environmental Systems. Society of Automotive Engineers, Rome, Italy, July 2005.

SAE Technical Paper # 2005-01-2926, Warrendale, PA : SAE International, 2005. , Jul-2005

Papers from Meeting Proceedings Sastry SK, Marcy JE, Yousef AE, Perchonok MH. "Reheating and sterilization technology for food, waste and water." Habitation 2004 Conference, Orlando, FL, Jan. 4-6, 2004.

Presentation HLS20, Habitation 2004 Conference, Orlando, FL, Jan. 4-6, 2004. , Jan-2004

Patents US Patent not filed yet (disclosure with OSU OTL). Application pending, January 2004. Jan-2004 Sastry SK, Heskitt BF, Jun S, Marcy JE, Mahna R, Somavat R. "Device and Container for Reheating and Sterilization of Contents."
Patents US Patent not filed yet (disclosure with OSU OTL) Application pending Jul-2008 Somavat, R., Sastry, S.K., and Yousef, A.E. "A universal capillary cell device for studying microbial inactivation kinetics for electricity and high pressure based food-processing techniques. "
Significant Media Coverage Lurie K. "What to eat on the way to Mars. " Wired News, September 20, 2004. http://www.wired.com/science/space/news/2004/09/64976 , Sep-2004
Significant Media Coverage Klapthor JN. "The Mars Challenge: Making Space Chow." Institute of Food Technologists news, July 16, 2004. http://www.ift.org/cms/?pid=1001062 , Jul-2004
Significant Media Coverage Lafferty M. "OSU scientists cook up pouch to heat space food." The Columbus Dispatch, November 1, 2005., Nov-2005
Project Title:  Reheating and Sterilization Technology for Food, Waste and Water Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2005 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP :
Start Date: 07/01/2003  
End Date: 09/30/2006  
Task Last Updated: 04/29/2005 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Sastry, Sudhir  Ph.D. / Ohio State University 
Address:  206 Agricultural Engineering Bldg. 
590 Woody Hayes Dr. 
Columbus , OH 43210 
Email: sastry.2@osu.edu 
Phone: 614-292-3508  
Congressional District: 15 
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: Ohio State University 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Marcy, Joseph E Virginia Tech 
Yousef, Ahmed E The Ohio State University 
Perchonok, Michele H NASA JSC 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. NAG9 – 1508 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor:  
Center Contact:   
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2002 Space Biology 02-OBPR-01 
Grant/Contract No.: NAG9 – 1508 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: None
Human Research Program Risks: None
Human Research Program Gaps: None
Task Description: Long-duration space missions require high-quality, nutritious foods, which will need reheating to serving temperature, or sterilization on an evolved planetary base. The package is generally considered to pose a disposal problem after use. We propose herein the development of a dual-use package wherein the food may be rapidly reheated in situ using the technology of ohmic heating. We propose to make the container reusable, so that after food consumption, the package is reused to contain and sterilize waste. This approach will reduce Equivalent System Mass (ESM) by using a compact heating technology, and reducing mass requirements for waste storage.

Our objectives are to 1) develop and optimize a reusable container and system for processing food and waste products by ohmic heating; 2) test the device for efficacy in sterilizing plant foods and waste products; 3) test the device for efficacy in reheating packaged shelf-stable foods; 4) test the heating system for efficacy in heating water for crew use, when not being used for heating food; 5) establish the oxygen and moisture barrier requirements for longer-term food storage; and 6) develop procedures and test methods to ensure hermetic seal for thermostabilized food containers.

Our approach will involve the development of a package with two electrically conducting ends and an electrically insulating wall, which will serve as a combination package and ohmic heater. We propose to study properties of food and waste to ensure the appropriate process strategy; study the critical issues of elimination of electrolytic bubble formation and microgravity feasibility; verification via heat transfer and microbiological studies of the efficacy of sterilization; study the potential for using the same technology for heating water for personal use; and study the attributes of the container necessary for long shelf life. 1. Develop and optimize a reusable container and system for processing food and waste products by ohmic heating. This includes Optimization of package and enclosure to minimize ESM Optimization of power input conditions to eliminate gas production. Optimization of current density to eliminate arcing. Optimization for use under microgravity conditions.

2. Test the device for efficacy in sterilizing plant foods and waste products.

3. Test the device for efficacy in reheating packaged shelf-stable foods.

4. Test the heating system for efficacy in heating water for crew use, when not being used for heating food.

5. Establish the oxygen and moisture barrier requirements for longer-term food storage.

6. Develop procedures and test methods to ensure hermetic seal for thermostabilized food containers. Research will help address the following Critical Path Roadmap Risks and Questions:

Risk No. 38. Crew nutritional requirements may not be met and crew health and performance compromised due to inadequate food acceptability, preparation, processing and storage systems.

38d. What food processing technologies are required when using crops and stored staple ingredients to ensure a system that is nutritious, safe and acceptable?

This study is the first step in developing better quality products. We will conduct informal tests to determine if quality is superior. Indeed, prior experience with ohmically heated products indicates this to be the case. However, the scope of the present project’s deliverables do not allow for Human Subjects testing, and this will have to be left for another project. 38e. What food packaging materials will provide the physical and chemical attributes, including barrier properties, to protect the food from the outside environment, and assure the 3-5 year shelf life?

We are currently working with military grade MRE pouches, which are designed to provide barriers compatible with a 3-5 year shelf life. We fully expect that a sterile product produced under these conditions will meet the shelf-life requirement.

38f. What food packaging will be biodegradable, easily processed, or be lighter in mass than the current packaging, and still provide the physical and chemical attributes including barrier properties to protect the food from the outside environment, and assure the 3-5 year shelf life?

In light of our current work, we believe that this question may be rephrased as:

What food packaging will be reusable, light in mass, still provide the physical and chemical attributes including barrier properties to protect the food from the outside environment, and assure the 3-5 year shelf life?

Risk No. 41. Crew health may be compromised due to inability of currently available technology to adequately process solid wastes reliably with minimum power, mass, volume. Inadequate waste management can also lead to contamination of planetary surfaces.

Specific questions addressed include:

41a. What system will meet the storage and/or disposal requirements for specified missions?

Our study indicates that a system for ohmic heating within packages will enable storage and disposal for long-duration (Mars) missions.

41e. What system will meet the requirements for managing residuals for planetary protection?

Biological residuals may be contained and sterilized within spent food packaging materials, as indicated by our preliminary studies. We expect to address this question further during the coming year.

41i How do partial and microgravity affect biological waste processing?

We will be addressing this subject in part within this study, but cannot verify it without a flight experiment. For the moment, we have been looking into bubble generation within our package/heater system.

41o. What resources are required to manage waste disposal as an environmental risk during long and remote missions (from EH)?

Capability for containment and sterilization is necessary. This capability may be met by reusable food packaging, and our system fits this need. The mass balance on a human being (Hanford and Ewert, 2002) also indicates that the total mass of fecal waste is far smaller than the total food intake. Thus, over time, we would expect a surplus of containers. Those containers not used for waste containment could be reused for packaging of food produced on an evolved planetary base.

41s. How should wastes be handled or stored to avoid perception such as bad odors or unsightly appearance that would adversely affect crew quality or life and consequent degradation in performance?

Our project addresses this issue, since we intend to contain and sterilize human wastes within reused packaging material. Since food packaging is designed with barrier properties in mind, it should be effective in waste containment as well. Our preliminary tests indicate that this is feasible, but further tests in the coming year will verify this finding.

41t. What waste management systems will prevent release of biological material (cells or organic chemicals that are signs of life) from contaminating a planetary surface, such as the Martian surface, and compromising the search for indigenous life?

As discussed above. Our system offers this capability. Once adequately sterilized, the waste can no longer contaminate its environment.

41w. What is the probability that microorganisms in biological wastes such as food scraps or feces could be altered or mutated by the space environment radiation to become harmful or pathogenic? What can prevent this?

Again, adequate containment and sterilization, both of which are being addressed in this project. If waste is sterile, no such problem will exist, and the question will no longer be relevant.

41x. What containment vessels will be sufficient to prevent escape of stored waste at various mission locations such as planetary surfaces or crew cabins?

Containers of the MRE-type will answer such issues. Again, the assurance of sterility and container integrity are key.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: If a reusable package can be developed, which will serve as a sterilizing device, it will likely see earth-based applications long before its potential use in space applications. This may also have other spinoffs in terms of serving as a preheating technology for other earth-based food applications (e.g., high pressure processing).

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2005 
Task Progress: An ohmic heating package, enclosure and power supply system have been developed. The package has been optimized with respect to electrode configuration and materials. Electrode configuration chosen provides the most uniform heating possible within the package. This has been accomplished using computational heat transfer methods, for current ISS rations. The electrode material (stainless steel) also provides superior results to aluminum in terms of minimum electrolytic gas generation.

Container integrity has been enhanced by etching one surface of stainless steel with ferric chloride and adhering to polyethylene surfaces by heat sealing. Results of sterilization tests indicate that the container retains its integrity through a sterilization treatment.

We have conducted preliminary experiments for sterilization of waste, and have been successful in heating waste to sterilization temperatures, with satisfactory container integrity. Our next steps will involve sterilization microbiology tests, and shelf-life studies.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 08/08/2019) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Sastry, S.K, Marcy, J.E., Yousef, A.E. and Perchonok, M.H. "Reheating and sterilization technology for food, waste and water" Habitation 2004 Conference, Orlando, FL, Jan. 4-6, 2004.

Abstract No. HLS-20 , Jan-2004

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Sastry, S. K., Marcy, J. E., Yousef, A. E., and Perchonok, M. H. "Reheating and sterilization technology for food, waste and water." IFT Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, July 12-16.

Abstract No. 90-3 , Jul-2004

Papers from Meeting Proceedings Jun, S.,Heskitt, B., Mahna, R., Sastry, S.K., Marcy, J.E., and Perchonok, M. "Reheating and sterilization technology for food, waste and water: design and development considerations for package and enclosure. " Paper No. 05ICES299. ICES 35 Meeting, Rome, Italy

Jul-2005

Presentation Jun, S.,Heskitt, B., Mahna, R., Sastry, S.K., Marcy, J.E., and Perchonok, M. "Reheating and sterilization technology for food, waste and water: design and development considerations for package and enclosure. " . Presentation scheduled for ICES 35 Rome, Italy, July 11-14

Jul-2005

Project Title:  Reheating and Sterilization Technology for Food, Waste and Water Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2004 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP :
Start Date: 07/01/2003  
End Date: 09/30/2006  
Task Last Updated: 06/03/2004 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Sastry, Sudhir  Ph.D. / Ohio State University 
Address:  206 Agricultural Engineering Bldg. 
590 Woody Hayes Dr. 
Columbus , OH 43210 
Email: sastry.2@osu.edu 
Phone: 614-292-3508  
Congressional District: 15 
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: Ohio State University 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Marcy, Joseph  Virginia Tech 
Yousef, Ahmed  The Ohio State University 
Perchonok, Michele  NASA JSC 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. NAG9 – 1508 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor:  
Center Contact:   
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2002 Space Biology 02-OBPR-01 
Grant/Contract No.: NAG9 – 1508 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
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Human Research Program Elements: None
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Task Description: Long-duration space missions require high-quality, nutritious foods, which will need reheating to serving temperature, or sterilization on an evolved planetary base. The package is generally considered to pose a disposal problem after use. We propose herein the development of a dual-use package wherein the food may be rapidly reheated in situ using the technology of ohmic heating. We propose to make the container reusable, so that after food consumption, the package is reused to contain and sterilize waste. This approach will reduce Equivalent System Mass (ESM) by using a compact heating technology, and reducing mass requirements for waste storage.

Our objectives are to 1) develop and optimize a reusable container and system for processing food and waste products by ohmic heating; 2) test the device for efficacy in sterilizing plant foods and waste products; 3) test the device for efficacy in reheating packaged shelf-stable foods; 4) test the heating system for efficacy in heating water for crew use, when not being used for heating food; 5) establish the oxygen and moisture barrier requirements for longer-term food storage; and 6) develop procedures and test methods to ensure hermetic seal for thermostabilized food containers.

Our approach will involve the development of a package with two electrically conducting ends and an electrically insulating wall, which will serve as a combination package and ohmic heater. We propose to study properties of food and waste to ensure the appropriate process strategy; study the critical issues of elimination of electrolytic bubble formation and microgravity feasibility; verification via heat transfer and microbiological studies of the efficacy of sterilization; study the potential for using the same technology for heating water for personal use; and study the attributes of the container necessary for long shelf life.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: If a reusable package can be developed, which will serve as a sterilizing device, it will likely see earth-based applications long before its potential use in space applications. This may also have other spinoffs in terms of serving as a preheating technology for other earth-based food applications (e.g., high pressure processing).

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2004 
Task Progress: The major task of the past year has been the development of a package which will also serve as an ohmic heater for long-duration space missions.

During the past year, we have tested various pouch concepts. A key challenge was the development of a lightweight, collapsible electrode at opposite ends of the pouch, separated by an insulating body, with the capability of expanding or collapsing with the pouch.

A pouch package has been developed with electrodes built into the ends. The electrodes are made of metal foil, and are designed to collapse with the package when empty, but to open out when the package is filled. The electrodes communicate with the exterior world via tabs that protrude through seals. Details are presented in the annual report document.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 08/08/2019) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Sastry, S.K.; Marcy, J.E.; Yousef, A.E.; Perchonok, M.H. "Reheating and sterilization technology for food, waste and water." Institute of Food Technologists' Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, July 12-16, 2004.

Abstract 90-3 , Jul-2004

Presentation Sastry, S.K.; Marcy, J.E.; Yousef, A.E.; Perchonok, M. "Reheating and sterilization technology for food, waste and water." Habitation 2004 Conference, Orlando, FL, Jan 4-7, 2004.

Jan-2004