Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 4, 2009
Publication Date: December 1, 2009
Citation: Pan, Z., Li, X., Bingol, G., Mc Hugh, T.H., Atungulu, G.G. 2009. Development of Infrared Radiation Heating Method for Sustainable Tomato Peeling. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 25(6):935-941. Interpretive Summary: This research studied the feasibility of using infrared radiation (IR) heating as an alternative to current wet peeling methods for tomatoes. The results showed that IR has good potential to be commercialized because it produces high quality product without using water and chemicals.
Technical Abstract: Although lye peeling is the widely industrialized method for producing high quality peeled fruit and vegetable products, the peeling method has resulted in negative impacts by significantly exerting both environmental and economic pressure on the tomato processing industry due to its associated salinity issues and wastewater disposal problems. The objective of this research was to develop alternative peeling methods with reduced or no caustic usage to produce high quality peeled tomatoes. The feasibility of using infrared radiation (IR) peeling and lye-IR peeling as alternative technologies was evaluated against control treatment which used regular lye peeling alone. Peeling performance and peeled tomato quality of three tomato cultivars were determined. The metrics for peeling performance were peelability, peeling easiness, and peeling weight loss. The color and texture of peeled tomatoes were measured as quality indicators. The study showed that IR peeling resulted in a similar peeling easiness but yielded lower peeling loss and firmer peeled product for the same or slightly longer peeling time when compared to regular lye peeling method. Pretreatment with low concentration of lye solution prior to IR treatment did not show any advantages over IR peeling alone. Because IR dry-peeling produced high quality product without using water and salts, it is concluded that it has a good potential as an alternative peeling method to the regular lye peeling method.