Location: Processed Foods Research
Title: Development of infrared heating technology for tomato peeling Authors
Submitted to: International Congress on Engineering and Food
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 15, 2011
Publication Date: May 26, 2011
Citation: Pan, Z., Li, X., Yong, W., Atungulu, G., Mchugh, T.H., Delwiche, M. 2011. Development of infrared heating technology for tomato peeling. In: Proceedings of the 11th International Congress on Engineering and Food, May 22-26, 2011. Athens, Greece. p. 795-796. Interpretive Summary: The commercial lye and steam peeling methods used in tomato processing industry are water- and energy-intensive and have a negative impact on the environment. To develop alternative peeling methods, we conducted comprehensive studies using infrared (IR) heating for tomato peeling. This paper provides a brief report on our recent studies of developing IR dry-peeling technology.
Technical Abstract: The commercial lye and steam peeling methods used in tomato processing industry are water- and energy-intensive and have a negative impact on the environment. To develop alternative peeling methods, we conducted comprehensive studies of using infrared (IR) heating for tomato peeling. The three major research objectives addressed included (1) to compare the efficacy of IR peeling and conventional lye peeling, (2) to investigate the dynamic thermal-mechanical properties of tomato skins heated with IR and lye solution, and (3) to model the geometrical characteristics of processing tomato fruits. The peeling test results demonstrated that IR heating significantly reduced the tomato peeling loss by 9% and resulted in a firmer product with a similar ease of peeling and heating time compared to lye peeling method. The reduced peeling loss and improved product quality mean that more premium products can be produced. Since no water/steam and chemicals are used, the IR peeling is named as IR dry-peeling method. To elucidate the IR dry-heating mechanism, the Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) technique was used to determine the relationship among the textural parameters, IR heating time, and the degree of tomato tissue deterioration. It was found that the textural behavior of tomato skin was sensitive to temperature and frequency scan and had significant change after IR heating as compared to fresh tomato skin. A 3D model of tomato shape was developed to characterize the shape and size of processing tomato fruits based on mass and had high accuracy of prediction. The new model also provided important geometric information vital for designing commercial IR dry-peeler to achieve desired peeling performance. The research results indicate that IR dry-peeling has a promising potential for commercialization. A proto-type commercial tomato IR peeling system is currently being developed.