Ah-Hen, K., Muñoz, O., Puente, L., Parada, J., Vega-Gálvez, A., Carrillo, B., Lemus-Mondaca, R.,
Bastías-Montes, J.M., Velez-Pacio D., Corpas, E., DiScala, K., Devesa y Pérez, V.
Special Issue: Food Processing and Quality
Food processing cannot be perceived without considering the quality of the desired products. This involves the transformation of the raw material into food products of different categories (semi-finished or ready-to-eat products) using various techniques, from the simplest to the most sophisticated. The simplest techniques, such as sun-drying or direct heating have been used since ancient times with the primary goal to achieve long shelf-life or a tasty food with the quality characteristics of being innocuous and nutritious. Modern technology has maintained the same goals; however, the level of complexity and requirement have changed owing to a better understanding of processing methods. The development of technologies directly or indirectly related to food production has also led to quality improvement. Since the first experiment of Nicolás Appert in 1809 to sterilise food in a glass container, and the first tin container developed by Peter Durand in 1810, the canning industry has undergone an extraordinary transformation, from improvement of packaging materials to the introduction of high technology in process control, making use of information technology, as well as in the organisation of food production to process the raw material. Furthermore, emerging technologies are being integrated more and more to respond to another technological challenge, focused on improving the quality of processed foods. The history of food processing is still being written to this day and the need to disclose knowledge in this area is highly relevant. Research in food science, food engineering and food technology has allowed a better understanding of production processes, making it possible to surmount obstacles that constantly arise in the arduous task of ensuring food safety along with high production efficiency.
In the era of globalisation, the food sector has a major role to play in commercial exchange activities, where business complexity requires detailed information on the products, their components, their quality attributes, as well as on the processing methods and traceability. Undoubtedly, such information can be obtained from the results of scientific research and through published articles. Chile, a country integrated within the international community and having the proposed intention to become a leader in food production, needs every effort of the entire population in all areas of activities to achieve this goal. Consequently, academy should get involved and has a contribution to make. In the southern part of the country, the scientific research carried out in the agri-food sector has had Universidad Austral de Chile (UACh) as the leading research institution, whereby the Agro Sur Journal would be created back in 1973 at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences as a tool to promote scientific publications and to provide visibility of the research work being conducted. Since then Agro Sur Journal has been an indispensable means to disclose the achieved advances in agricultural sciences, which include soil science, plant and animal science, and even the social field with rural development and agrarian economy. Scientific contributions in this field are wide-open and extensive, and the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at UACh, keen to support the agri-food chain, from field to fork, has also promoted the area of food science and food engineering that in turn contributes with studies on food processing to add value to the agricultural products. Therefore, with Agro Sur Journal the aims were set to give support and to contribute to the development of the country from the south. The compilation and publication of scientific research are firm proposals of Agro Sur Journal. This year the special edition of Agro Sur is dedicated to “Food Processing and Quality” to emphasise its compromise with food scientists and to participate in the publication of the book of abstracts of the XXI Conference of the Chilean Society of Food Technology (SOCHITAL), under the theme “Food Engineering for Nutrition and Health: An Integrative Approach to Design of Healthy Foods”, held in Santiago from 22-24 May 2017 and organised by the School of Nutrition and Dietetics of Universidad de los Andes.