Drying characteristics of Saskatoon berries under microwave and combined microwave-convection heating
Reddy N., Lakshminarayana
The study on dehydration of frozen saskatoon berries and the need for dried fruits have been strategically identified in the Canadian Prairies. The motivation for this research was to find a suitable method for dehydration and extend saskatoon berry shelf life for long term preservation. Microwave, convection and microwave-convection combination drying processes were identified to finish-dry saskatoon berries after osmotic dehydration, using sucrose and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) sugar solutions. Osmotic dehydration removes moisture in small quantities introducing solutes into the fruit that acts as a preservative and also reduces the total drying time. Due to the very short harvesting season of saskatoon berries, an accelerated process such as the microwave combination drying can reduce the moisture to safe storage levels immediately after harvest. Untreated and osmotically dehydrated berries were subjected to convection (control), microwave and microwave-convection combination drying conditions at different product drying temperatures (60, 70 and 80oC) until final moisture content was 25% dry basis. A laboratory-scale microwave combination dryer was developed with integrated temperature and moisture loss data acquisition systems using LabView 6i software. A thin-layer cross flow dryer was used for convection-only drying and for comparison. Drying kinetics of the process were studied and curve fitting with five empirical equations, including the Page equation, was carried out to determine drying constant, R2 and standard error values. The microwave-combination drying method proved to be the best for drying saskatoon berries. Dehydrated product quality analyses were accomplished by measuring the color changes, rehydration ratio and any structural changes, using a scanning electron microscope technique.This research was instrumental in the modification and development of a novel drying system for high-moisture agricultural materials (fruits). Microwave-convection combination drying at 70oC, yielded good results with higher drying rates and better end-product quality.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentAgricultural and Bioresource Engineering
ProgramAgricultural and Bioresource Engineering
CommitteeNemati, Mehdi; Guo, Huiqing; Baik, Oon Doo
Copyright DateFebruary 2008