Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Published in Drying Technology 28 (2010), pp. 294–303; doi: 10.1080/07373930903530402 Copyright © 2010 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Used by permission.


Pretreatment of fruits prior to drying has shown success in reducing drying time and costs. In this work, ultrasound-assisted osmotic dehydration has been implemented as a method to increase water diffusivity and reduce drying time in strawberries. Strawberry halves were immersed in distilled water and in two different concentrations of sucrose solutions while pretreatment time and ultrasonic frequency levels were varied to determine their effect on drying time, water loss, and soluble solids gain. A microscopic analysis was carried out to evaluate the formation of microchannels and other changes to the fruit tissue structure. Greater sucrose concentration used in ultrasound- assisted osmotic dehydration resulted in greater water loss with greatest loss observed for the strawberry halves pretreated for 45 min in a 50% w/w sucrose solution. The pretreatment carried out for 30 min employing an osmotic solution of 50% w/w of sucrose resulted in the highest drying rate among the pretreatments. Osmotic dehydration used alone during pretreatment increased total processing time, whereas osmotic dehydration combined with ultrasonic energy during pretreatment reduced total processing time and increased effective water diffusivity. Cell distortion and breakdown were observed not only in pretreatments employing ultrasound-assisted osmotic dehydration but in conventional osmotic dehydration. Formation of microchannels through ultrasonic application and effects of osmotic pressure differential were considered to be largely responsible for reducing drying time for strawberry halves.