|Atungulu, Griffiths -|
Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2010
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Infrared (IR) radiation heating has been considered as an alternative to current food and agricultural processing methods for improving product quality and safety, increasing energy and processing efficiency, and reducing water and chemical usage. As part of the electromagnetic spectrum, IR has the capacity to provide high heat transfer rates. We have recently developed several IR-based processing technologies that take advantage of the high heating rates of IR for the blanching and dehydration of fruits and vegetables, roasting and pasteurization of almonds, disinfestation and drying of rice, and peeling of tomatoes. The method of simultaneous IR blanching and dehydration (SIRBD) of fruits and vegetables combines the two steps typical of blanching followed by dehydration into one simple step, resulting in simplified equipment and reduced processing time and energy use. Dry heating with IR also eliminates the need to use water or steam for blanching. Sequential IR and freeze-drying (SIRFD) could be used as an alternative for producing crispy fruit and vegetable pieces while reducing processing time and energy consumption. The Sequential IR and hot air (SIRHA) method for roasting almonds produces high quality dry-roasted almonds while ensuring pasteurization and significantly reduced roasting time compared to the current method of hot air roasting. When IR is used for pasteurizing almonds, the treatment retains many of the characteristics of raw almonds. IR heating can achieve simultaneous disinfestation and drying of freshly harvested rough rice much faster than conventional commercial heated air drying. IR heating is also an effective non-chemical disinfestation method for stored rough rice. IR dry-peeling has promising potential for replacing lye and steam peeling for tomatoes, particularly as a sustainable, environmentally-friendly technology without using chemicals and water. The development and commercialization of IR-based food processing technologies such as these could open new avenues to delivering safe and value-added foods desirable to consumers, while reducing the consumption of natural resources during processing.