with the collaboration of Iranian Society of Mechanical Engineers (ISME)

Document Type : Research Article


1 PhD Student, Department of Biosystems Engineering, College of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran

2 Department of Biosystems Engineering, College of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran


Due to the disadvantages of using chemical materials as pretreatment before grape drying, the application of non-chemical methods that not only take the environmental issues into account but also increase the drying rate and improve the quality of the produced raisins is vitally important. The high-humidity hot air impingement blanching (HHAIB) is one of the non-chemical methods that can be used as a suitable alternative for chemical pretreatment in grape drying. In this research, the design, construction, and evaluation of a high-humidity hot air impingement blanching system are discussed in terms of the drying kinetics of white seedless grapes. The results are compared against the control and chemical pretreatment.
Materials and Methods
High-humidity hot air impingement blanching (HHAIB) system
The HHAIB system is composed of the steam generator, steam transfer pipes, side channel pump, closing and opening valves, air recycling channel, electric air heater, hot-humid air transfer channel, pretreatment chamber, hot-humid air distribution chamber, nozzles, temperature and humidity sensors and controllers. The performance of the system depends on the humid air temperature, the output fluid velocity from the nozzle, the distance of the nozzles from the product surface, as well as the diameter and arrangement of the nozzles. In order to achieve optimal design of the nozzle array, the relationships existed for the heat transfer coefficient, air mass flow, and blowing power were considered.
Application of the HHAIB pretreatment and evaluation of its effect on the grape drying process
Experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of temperature and duration of HHAIB pretreatment on the kinetics of grape drying. A two-factor completely randomized factorial design with three replications was used to analyze the data.
According to the studies, the air at temperatures of 90, 100, and 110°C, a velocity of 10 m s-1, and relative humidity in the range of 40-45% was applied to the product. Pretreatment durations of 30, 60, 90, 120, and 150 s were also considered. Experiments were conducted with three replicates and control treatment and acid pretreatment were used to compare the drying process. Due to the high quality of shade-dried raisins, this method was used to study the process.
The effect of the pretreatment duration on the drying kinetics of white seedless grapes was assessed by observing variations in moisture ratio and drying rate over time, as well as determining the effective diffusivity of water.
For the color evaluation of the produced raisins, chroma (C), hue angle H°, and total color difference (ΔE) parameters were calculated after measuring L*, a*, and b* values.
Results and Discussion
The comparison of the drying process among the control, chemical, and HHAIB showed the positive efficacy of HHAIB on the drying rate of grapes. Compared to fresh grapes, the increase in drying rate under the influence of HHAIB varied from 8% for a duration of 30 s at 90°C to 68% for a duration of 150 s at 110°C. The values of the diffusion coefficient of grapes for the HHAIB pretreatment at temperatures of 90, 100, and 110°C and durations of 30, 60, 90, 120, and 150 s, as well as for the control and chemical pretreatments were determined. The values of the coefficient changed from 2.28×10-10 m2 s-1 for 30 s of applying pretreatment at 90°C to 3.53×10-10 m2 s-1 for 150 s of applying the pretreatment at 110°C. The highest value of this coefficient (7.46×10-10 m2 s-1) was associated with the chemical pretreatment. The value of the diffusion coefficient increased with increasing temperature and duration of the HHAIB pretreatment. In general, this increase in the drying rate and the diffusion coefficient can be attributed to the effect of the HHAIB pretreatment on the texture and destruction of the cell wall, as well as the microcracks created on the skin of the grapes. Moreover, the findings reveal that, in comparison with the hot air temperature, the duration of the HHAIB pretreatment was more effective in enhancing the drying rate. Additionally, based on the color analysis, a temperature of 110°C and a duration range of 90-150 s were achieved as suitable conditions for applying pretreatment.
The HHAIB pretreatment, which combines the benefits of hot air blanching with jet technology, affects the texture and skin of grapes, accelerates the drying process, and increases the quality of the produced raisins. However, the correct application of this pretreatment depends on the proper design of the system and appropriate conditions, including duration, temperature, and relative humidity. The results of drying kinetics showed that the drying rate increased with an increase in the temperature and duration of the pretreatment. The findings indicate that the HHAIB pretreatment could improve the color indices of the raisins, resulting in an increase in the drying rate and acceptable quality of the final product. This provides a basis for the use of HHAIB on larger and industrial scales.


Main Subjects

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