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A mild and innovative solar drying process to provide high quality products

 

In Developing Countries postharvest loss of fruits is very high due to the perishable nature of fruits, poor postharvest handling, and lack of cheap and appropriate postharvest technology. Adequate solar drying techniques may be a promising sustainable technology for transforming local products to obtain foods easily storable at room temperature. 

Five pilot innovative mild solar drying processes on fruit and vegetable products were carried out at the Research Centre for Engineering and Food Transformation (Milan, Italy) to verify the influence of the process on some physico-chemical properties of fruits and their shelf life, for a process scale transposition. Samples were analysed for water activity (aw), colorimetric parameters and VIS spectral profiles. Solar drying allowed the production of dehydrated products with attractive visual characteristics and microbiologically safe due to low aw values. Dried product can be used as both final products ready to direct consumption and food ingredients in their milled form in fortified foods.

The possibility to store the products at room temperature can support the rural sector of the Developing Countries by reducing food loss, poverty, and improving nutritional status of the population.

This work was published in the Journal of Food Measurement and Characterization.

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