What is it about?

Drying is particularly important for handling and distribution of agricultural products with high moisture content and limited shelf-life such as fruits and vegetables. The main objective of drying is to reduce moisture content to a level where microbial spoilage and deteriorative chemical reactions of agricultural products are minimum. However, the degradation of nutrients in food during convective hot air drying results into quality loss. Therefore, new drying equipment and drying techniques have to be designed and studied. Vacuum-assisted microwave drying is an emerging dehydration method that may be efficient to preserve quality characteristics of food and additionally leads to shorten effective drying time. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of vacuum-assisted microwave drying and subsequent product storage on the quality attributes and shelf-life of strawberry fruits. This preservation technique may avoid freezing or refrigeration of fruit.

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Why is it important?

Vacuum microwave drying may be an alternative preservation method for strawberries to freeze-drying. Energy and investment costs are considerably lower. Additionally, experiments have been done with other berries , such as blueberries and Chilean native "Maqui" berry (Aristotelia chilensis).


Storage of dehydrated strawberries during six months at ambient temperature in the dark showed an unexpected increase of polyphenols and flavonoids over time that has been discussed. Moderate process conditions during vacuum microwave drying were able to activate native enzymes of strawberries that improve potential bioavailibility of polyphenols and flavonoids. Finally, vacuum microwave drying was able to improve or equalize strawberry shelf life compared to other drying methods with the exception of freeze-drying.

Dr Johannes P.F. de Bruijn
Universidad de Concepcion

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Effect of Vacuum Microwave Drying on the Quality and Storage Stability of Strawberries, Journal of Food Processing and Preservation, December 2015, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/jfpp.12691.
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