Microwave assisted air drying of osmotically treated pineapple with variable power programmes
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Variable power programmes for microwave assisted air drying of pineapple were studied. The pineapple pieces were pre-treated by osmotic dehydration in a 55° Brix sucrose solution at 40 °C for 90 min. Variable power output programmes were designed and ran with different inlet air temperatures between 30 and 70 °C. Results indicated that the use of variable microwave power combined with low air temperatures can result in a fast drying process without significant charring of pineapple pieces. High microwave powers need to be reduced quickly, faster than the decrease in water content would suggest, to minimize charring. In this study an inlet air temperatures of 70 °C was found to be excessive when combined with microwave energy (5 W/g - after compensating for the moisture loss), resulting in fast temperature increase. Microwave power was found to be most effective in the first hour to 1.5 h of processing. It should then be reduced to 0.1 W/g (initial product weight) in the final stages of drying to avoid charring of the fruit pieces. The best microwave programme tested lead to 20% water content with just 1% losses due to charring, but the results allow to conclude that charring could be completely reduced by switching off microwave energy altogether after 1.5 h and then finish off drying with higher air temperatures. The use of low air temperatures (30-50 °C) is advantageous with microwave energy in the first stages of drying as it limits the peaks of specific energy absorption, but it slows down drying towards the end probably because of a too low point of equilibrium (saturation humidity of air). Microwave energy did not significantly influence the drying process towards the end, although drying rates showed a "memory effect", that is, drying rates in processes with the same conditions after a given time depended on the conditions up to that point.
|Tidsskrift||Journal of Food Engineering|
|Status||Udgivet - 2012|