Drying characteristics of Saskatoon berries under microwave and combined microwave-convection heating
The study on dehydration of frozen saskatoon berries and the need for dried fruits has been strategically identified in the prairies. Our motivation was to find a suitable method for dehydration in order to extend saskatoon berry shelf life for 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 and also introduces 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 like microwave combination drying can bring down the moisture to safe storage level, 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 80C) until final moisture content was 25% dry basis. A laboratory-scale microwave combination dryer was developed, built with temperature and moisture loss data acquisition systems using LabView 6i software. Thin-layer cross flow dryer was used for convection-only drying and for comparison. Drying kinetics of the drying processes were studied and curve fitting with five empirical equations including Page equation, was carried 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 analysis by means of color changes, rehydration ratio measurements and observed structural changes with scanning electron microscope technique were the factors in drying method selection for saskatoon berries. This research was instrumental in the modification and development of a novel drying system for high-moisture agricultural materials. Microwave-convection combination drying at 70oC, yields 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 DateMarch 2006
Dielectric Property of berry