Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Dry conservation of fruit and vegetables

The project concerns the preservation of the intrinsic quality (in line with increased consumer demands for `near fresh' food products), as expressed in quantitative terms, of fruit and vegetables (FV) in dry conservation processes with particular emphasis on the use of electromagnetic energy (EME) as a dehydration process. The project involves: assessment of the dielectric properties of selected FV to predict drying behaviour by a combination of dielectric and hot air drying; assessment of the effects of processing and storage on the quality of dehydrated FV; relating matrix mobility and quality deterioration mechanisms; defining guidelines for combining EME and conventional processes in the production of high quality FV. An integrated approach is being used to embrace process development (dielectric drying and freeze drying), quality assessment, determination of polymeric properties, storage and packaging research, supported by technical and economic evaluation. Apple, parsley, strawberry, carrot and mushrooms were selected as model products for the various studies. Progress to date includes: the design of equipment for EME/hot air drying; the finding that dielectric properties can be measured over a range of moisture and temperature conditions; optimal freeze drying conditions for strawberries have been determined; a pragmatic model for predicting temperature profiles in products during microwave drying has been developed as has a physical-mathematical computer programme to estimate the shelf life of dehydrated food products inside a flexible package.

Reported by

Agrotechnological Research Institute (ATO-DLO)
6700 AA Wageningen
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