Research on the application of osmotic dehydration to food processes is on-going at numerous laboratories all throughout Europe. The interest is due to the possibility of modifying the functional properties of the food material and improvement of the overall quality of the products together with the potential energy saving by application of an osmotic step in conventional food processes. Despite the great efforts made, essential problems remain to be solved. The development of this field can be achieved only by co-ordinated research with integrated objectives and efficient exchange of the acquired knowledge, by means of a concerted activity.
The most important task of the proposal is therefore to create and improve the links
between the different groups working on osmotic dehydration in order to acquire the
necessary knowledge to optimise the food quality with special attention to the nutritional and sensory quality and to control the osmotic dehydration from the engineering point of view. This will be met by:
- Collect and amalgamate the necessary scientific knowledge in order to use the osmotic dehydration as a pre-treatment for food processing (combined processes) by:
- evaluation and control the modifications achieved in the food material (composition,
structural, functional properties, etc.) in order to improve the overall quality
of products obtained by freezing, chilling, convective drying and other
conventional and new food processes.
- determination of possible undesired changes in food materials occurring during the
osmotic process (structural, diffusion of components, oxidative or deteriorative
- study of the interactions between solutes and the food components in order to use
different solutes and solute blends to achieve the desired quality properties.
- evaluation of the nutritional and sensory quality and assessment of the stability of the products obtained by these combined methods.
- Study of the osmotic dehydration as a unit operation. Development of a practical
predictive model for process design and control.
- Evaluation on the solution recycling possibilities; microbiological validation of the
Through the integration of on-going research and efficient exchange of information by the implementation of this concerted action progress on the following areas will be achieved: optimisation of existing process technologies leading to safe, high quality foods; development of advanced food processing technologies; reduction of damage to the environment from food processes, by reducing water load during refrigeration, freezing, transport, and in this way saving energy; better understanding of the underlying biochemistry of foods; determination of physical properties of food components and processing solutions; understanding the microbiological aspects of the osmotic step and combined processes.
Funding SchemeCON - Coordination of research actions
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