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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Development of New Infrared Dry-peeling System for Tomatoes

Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Our objective for this project is to build and evaluate a prototype continuous IR dry-peeling system for peeling tomatoes. The specific objectives are to: .
1)Develop, design and build a prototype continuous IR peeling system for tomatoes. The system will include feeding, IR heating, vacuum skin releasing and peel removal sections;.
2)Test the efficacy of the new peeling system using tomatoes and evaluate the effect of various processing parameters of the IR heating (IR intensity, heating time, emitter configuration) on the peeling performance of the system and product quality; and.
3)Work with Precision Canning Equipment Co., related food processors and CLFP to transfer the new peeling technology into commercialization.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
The objective for this project is for the IR dry-peeling system to be designed, built and evaluated. The indicators for the peeling performance and product quality will include peeling rate, peeling loss, and color change and firmness of peeled tomatoes respectively. The process parameters of IR-dry peeling will include IR intensity, configuration of IR emitter, and heating time for achieving the uniform heating on tomato surface. The IR peeling section will be expected to take advantage of the shape of a parallel assembly of tubular electric IR heaters with variable heat control capability to regulate IR intensity. The exposure time of tomatoes to IR heat is expected to be regulated by automatic speed control of a tomato conveyor as it passes between the parallel IR emitters. We will select popular tomato varieties for performing the study. The research results from this project are expected to provide design guidelines for large IR dry-peeling system. All results will be analyzed for statistical significance. The research aims to further the goal of commercializing the new peeling technology.


3.Progress Report:

The research team worked with industrial partners and completed the development of a pilot scale IR peeling system, which will be used for demonstration of the new sustainable IR peeling technology. The effects of tomato shape and size, processing parameters, such as heating temperature and time, have been studied. A predictive mathematical model has been developed for predicting the temperature changes and uniformity of tomatoes under various heating conditions, which provided critical design parameters for the pilot unit and future full scale system. This project relates to objective 2: Develop sustainable infrared technologies that can be used for process and energy efficient blanching, dehydration, pasteurization, and peeling of speciality crops from the parent project.


Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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