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, vol. C, pp. 2077-2083
OSMOTIC DEHYDRATION OF BANANA SLICES AS A PRETREATMENT FOR DRYING PROCESSES
Kephas Nowakunda1, Ana Andrés2 and Pedro Fito2 National Banana Research Programme, Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute, P.O.BOX 7065, Kampala, Uganda 2 Department of Food Technology, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia Camino de Vera s/n. 46022 Valencia, Spain e-mail: email@example.com
Key words: Drying, Mass transfer, Osmotic dehydration, Pre-treatment ABSTRACT Effects of Osmotic dehydration on mass transfer properties as water loss, solids gain, and weight reduction during osmotic dehydration were investigated in order to determine the usefulness of this technique as pre-treatment for further drying of bananas slices. Banana slices, 10 mm thick, were immersed in sucrose solutions with concentrations of 45, 55 and 65 Brix at 30, 40 and 50oC for 20, 40, 60,120 and 240 minutes. Water loss, weight reduction and solids gain increased with treatment time. Longer treatment time in high concentrations of sucrose resulted in a very soft product, which is difficult to handle and unsuitable for further drying. Increasing concentration at the same temperature did not cause significant increments in weight change. Higher concentrations of sucrose caused higher rates of water removal. About 50% of the water loss occurred between 40 – 120 minutes for most of the conditions. This technique can be used to produce good product for further drying. Results obtained suggest that a product for further drying could be obtained by treating the slices at temperatures not more than 30oC and using osmotic solutions at 55 or 65 Brix. INTRODUCTION
Banana is the most important starchy staple in Uganda. Annual production was estimated at 9.84 million tons, the second largest in the World, the first being India with 9.9 million tons (FAO, 1998; Lescot, 1999). This represented 30 % of world production of cooking bananas and plantains and 11% of total world banana production (FAO, 1994). In Uganda, banana (East African highland cooking banana) is a staple food for more than 12 million people. The crops’ all year round fruiting habit makes it extremely important as an income security crop for households.
1999. Osmotic drying has been combined with conventional drying methods such as hot air drying to produce shelf-stable fruit products. Experiences with 55B osmotic solution at 40oC and 50oC temperatures were performed with and without a previous vacuum pulse (VP) at 50 mbar for 5 minutes. color and pH. preserve quality. It is therefore necessary to devise drying techniques that reduce the bulk of the bananas. poor texture and taste and changed flavor. Bananas are highly perishable and bulky. with only a few. Dehydration has been identified as one of the most feasible method to reduce bulk and preserve the bananas. Change in weight ( Mt).. and soluble solutes were measured in a refractometer (ATAGO model NAR3T). There is. two at a time for quality control during the osmotic treatment by destructive sampling at 20. Osmotic dehydration is now considered a valuable tool in minimal processing of foods. 2001. The use of osmotic agents and electromagnetic energy. mainly dessert (apple banana and Cavendish). keeping much of the original quality. Brett et al. Fito et al. MATERIALS AND METHODS Green bananas (Cavendish) from Uganda but bought in the local market in Valencia were peeled and cut into slices of about 10 mm thickness. This paper reports results of effects of osmotic treatment on mass transfer and some quality characteristics of green banana slices. Other drying methods have been developed to improve the dehydration rate and quality of the products. no need to use sulphur dioxide and/or blanching for protection against oxidative and enzymatic discoloration. During osmotic dehydration. the process takes place under mild heat treatment (<50oC) which further flavor color and flavor retention. moisture content.40. This makes their transportation to distant and export markets costly. enable wider utilization base and convert the banana into convenient food products. confectionary or paste. convenient and less bulky products important. 40 and 50ºC. 2 and 3: 2078 . Donsi et al. therefore. They were then placed in compartmentalized holder. are exported mostly to Western Europe and are eaten as dried slices. Also. being exported to mainly Western European markets and neighboring countries. extend their shelf life. Bananas are currently dried using various types of solar dryers both when raw and ripe (Pekke et al. The slices were first characterized for aw. reduced into flour and used for porridge. which implies a need to process the bananas into shelf-sable. Sample to solution ratio was 1:20. such as radio frequency and micro-waves. The holder had a hollow centre through which an agitator was passed to continuously stir the solution. solar drying is a slow and uncontrolled process and products obtained have unappealing color. with each compartment containing one sample.06.. resulting in products with superior sensory characteristics (Ponting. water loss ( Mw) and sugar gain ( Mss) were calculated according to equations 1. Osmotic dehydration is therefore one of the effective ways to reduce overall energy requirements in dehydration and dehydro-freezing processes. It can be applied either as an autonomous process or as a processing step in alternative processing schemes leading to a variety of end products (Lazarides et al. The rest of the samples were removed. Moisture content was determined according to the method described in AOAC. a product is continuously immersed in the osmotic solution.Most of the bananas produced in Uganda are consumed locally. Osmotic drying has been successfully used to reduce water activity of fruits and vegetables to about 0.9.1999. color and volume changes during osmotic dehydration. 1973). The ripe bananas. 55 and 65 Brix were used and process temperatures were 30. Sucrose solutions of 45. 1996). Three of the samples were put in tagged compartments of the holder for monitoring weight. soluble solids. which are easy to transport and prepare.60. The raw fresh solar dried East African highland cooking bananas (AAA-EA) are either reconstituted or eaten as boiled/steamed and mashed ‘matooke’. which significantly affect their acceptability (Pekke et al. have been combined with air drying to improve the quality and market acceptability potential of dried fruits and vegetables (Lazarides et al.1999). Method 934. making the process oxygen free.180 and 240 minutes. 2001). However.120. 1998).
Correlation between mass changes and water loss plus sugar gain. It helps to confirm whether the observed mass change is due to water loss and solids gain or if there are other significant mass transfer changes taking place that are not being controlled. 0.50 Mss+ Mw Mt 30ºC-45 B 30ºC-55B 30ºC-65B 40ºC-45B 40ºC-55B 40ºC-55B-VP 40ºC-65B 50ºC-45B 50ºC-55B 50ºC-55B-VP 50ºC-65B Figure 1. leading to unaccounted for mass losses during wiping 2079 .05 -0.50 -0.40 -0.15 -0.10 0.20 -0.10 -0. there was a general agreement between the experimental results and the mass balance equation although some deviations from the equation become apparent for a group of experimental data corresponding to the longer times of treatment.00 -0.00 -0.M t − Mo Mo M x − M o x wo ∆M w = t wt Mo M x − M o x sso ∆M ss = t sst Mo ∆M t = (1) (2) (3) Where: Mo = original weight (g) Mt = Weight at time t (g) xwo = initial mass fraction of water (g/g) xsso = initial mass fraction of soluble solutes (g/g) xwt = mass fraction of water at time t (g/g) xsst = mass fraction of soluble solutes at time t (g/g) RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Considering that mass changes are attributed to the water loss and the sugar gain it is interesting to plot the experimental results and to check if they fit the mass balance equation (Figure 1).20 -0.25 -0. As Figure 1 indicates.30 -0. This could be attributed to the softening of the banana slices after longer time of osmotic treatment at high temperature and high concentrated solution.35 -0.30 -0.45 -0.40 -0.
4 -0..000 -0. the water loss and sugar gain increased appreciably with the increase in temperature (Figure 2).600 Time (minutes) 30ºC-45B water loss 40ºC-45B water loss 50ºC-45B water loss 30ºC-45B Solids gain 40ºC-45B solids gain 50ºC-45B solids gain Time (minutes) 30ºC-55B water loss 40ºC-55B water loss 50ºC-55B water loss 30ºC-55B solids gain 40ºC-55B solids gain 50ºC-55B solids gain 0.the slices of the sugar solution and overall process inefficiency due to structural collapse.3 -0. the real end-point of osmotic treatment can be specified by observed changes in mass transfer data and the desired characteristics of the final product (Harris et al.600 0 100 200 300 -0. the rate of weight reduction and water removal reduced after between 0. Solids gain is largely a diffusional process while water removal is due to osmotic mechanism resulting from differences in water chemical potential between the cells of the banana slices and osmotic solutions (Fito et al.2 -0.200 Mss & Mw 0.1 0 -0. Influence of temperature on water loss and solids gain for different concentration of the osmotic solution (45. An appreciable amount of water is already removed by about 1. weight reduction.5 hour and 1. soluble solids content and water content were affected by process time (Figure 2). Osmotic treatment promotes higher water loss than sugar gain since water removal and solids gain take place due to different mechanisms. the end point for bananas could even be within the first hour of osmotic treatment.2 0. In all the cases the figures show.200 -0. 1999).400 -0.200 -0.6 Mss & Mw 100 200 300 Time (minutes) 30ºC-65B water loss 40ºC-65B water loss 50ºC-65B water loss 30ºC-65B solids gain 40ºC-65B solids gain 50ºC-65B solids gain Figure 2.200 0 100 200 300 Mss & Mw 0. For all the process conditions studied. 0. Previous studies had indicated that while equilibrium of water chemical potential in the product and solution is obtained after a long time. However.000 0. 2080 . no significant mass exchange took place after 4-5 hours.400 -0.5 -0.5 hours. 55 and 65 Brix). 2001). This implies that it should not be recommended to employ high temperatures and longer time during the osmotic dehydration of the banana slices since a firm texture is important for further handling during subsequent drying operations.1 0 -0.5 hours.5 hours of osmotic treatment for all the process conditions. This implies that it is not necessary to dehydrate the banana slices in the osmotic solutions for periods longer than 1. Since structure is important for subsequent handling and treatment of the banana slices..
3 -0.1 0 -0.. 2001).1 0 -0. Results obtained indicated though there was a general increase in water reduction in samples treated with a pulse pressure. Influence of osmotic solution concentration on water loss and solutes gain at 30. 0.1 0 -0.4 -0.2 -0. Solids intake is largely a diffusional process which is promoted by high temperature and the permeability of the cell membrane is also affected by temperature. 40 and 50ºC.Increasing temperature promotes faster mass transfer on the product due to lower viscosity of the osmotic medium (Harris et al. it implies that application of a vacuum pulse is only useful when impregnation of the sample with the solution is the primary objective of the osmotic pre-treatment. These results suggest that since the vacuum pulse (VP) did not appreciably improve water loss.6 50ºC ∆M w & ∆M ss 50 100 150 200 250 300 time (min) w-45B w-55B-VP ss-45B ss-55B-VP w-55B w-65B ss-55B ss-65B Figure 3.1 0 -0.2 0.5 -0.1 0 -0. 1999). This occurs because when a low pressure is applied to the sample capillary impregnation is promoted and when the atmospheric pressure is restored. and instead improved solids gain. pores are extensively flooded with external solution hence high soluble solids gain (Fito et al.3 -0. (1981) reported that increasing the osmotic solution concentration to 65% did not result in faster weight. It is not necessary in processes where the primary objective is water reduction. hence the observed behavior.5 -0.6 50 100 40ºC 150 200 250 300 time (min) ss-45B w-55B ss-55B w-65B ss-65B w-45B w-45B w-55B-VP ss-45B ss-55B-VP w-55B w-65B ss-55B ss-65B 0. a significant increase in soluble solids content. This observation may be attributed to cell collapse resulting in obstructions in water movement as concentration and temperature is increased. the increments were not significant. reducing the efficiency of water removal. For other conditions the increments were not significant as expected. however. Contreras and Smryl. There was.6 time (min) 50 100 150 200 250 300 ∆M w & ∆M ss 0. 2081 .0 30ºC 0.1 ∆M w & ∆M ss -0.4 -0.2 0.2 0.2 -0. Despite a general noticeable improvement in water reduction due to increasing the osmotic solution concentration at the same temperature.5 -0.4 -0.2 -0. appreciable increments were realized only at 30oC (Figure 3).3 -0.
050 0.5 to 2 hours indicating that it may not be necessary to carry out the osmotic treatment step for longer hours.400 0. The results therefore suggest that treatments carried out at 30 ºC are the ones were lower ratios of ∆Mss/∆Mw are obtained.450 0. water loss. solids gain and weight loss increased with longer time of treatment.300 0. being also advantageous in terms of energy saving.200 0. temperature is an important variable. 2082 .100 0. The results also suggest that for bananas.150 0.350 ∆Mss/∆Mw 0. 0. However. Due to the soft texture of bananas. CONCLUSIONS Most efficient water removal occurred between 0. Figure 4 shows the values of ∆Mss/∆Mw ratio obtained at different working conditions were important differences can be appreciated during the first hour of treatment. Results obtained suggest that a product for further drying could be obtained by treating the slices at temperatures not more than 30oC and using osmotic solutions at 55 or 65 Brix.000 0 50 100 150 time (min) Figure 4.250 0.The ratio between sugar gain and water loss (∆Mss/∆Mw) is a very useful parameter to select the most appropriated process conditions to be use in the osmotic pretreatment. Evolution of sugar gain/water loss ratio for the different process conditions 30ºC-45B 30ºC-55B 40ºC-45B 40ºC-55B 40ºC-55B-VP 40ºC-65B 30ºC-65B 50ºC-45B 50ºC-55B 50ºC-65B 50ºC-55B-VP 200 250 300 Osmotic solutions of 55 and 65 Brix seem to be the optimal concentrations to obtain higher water loss and the duration of the osmotic pre-treatment will depend on the maximum sugar uptake considered acceptable from sensorial point of view. osmotic treatment of bananas needs not to be done at extreme conditions of temperature and concentration. and hence an optimal water loss without an excessive sugar gain. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The authors acknowledge the European Union (INCO-DEV/ICA4-2001-10047) for their financial support given to this research.
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