Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Food Science and Technology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran.

2 Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi university of Mashhad,


Introduction: Banana is one of the most consumed fruit in the world and is cultivated almost in all tropical countries. This fruit has a high nutritional value and is a suitable source of energy due to the presence of high amount of starch, sugar, vitamin A and C, potassium, sodium, and magnesium. Banana is highly vulnerable after harvesting and is subject to the microbial spoilage due to the high moisture content which makes difficult its sales and exports. Therefore, several methods have been used to overcome these problems. Drying and dehydration are methods to extend the shelf life of banana which usually carries out by hot air. This method can prevent some degree of microbial spoilage, but it has some disadvantages such as changing color, taste, flavor and reducing the nutritional value.
Foam-mat drying as a substitute for hot air drying introduces some advantages such as using the microwave energy. In this method, food products are whipped to form stable form and then dehydrated by thermal means. Due to the larger surface area and accelerated moisture transfer from foam, food products can be dried at lower temperature and time by this method of drying. Moreover, the porous structure of dried foam results in a faster rehydration and solubility of dried food samples. Additionally, microwave-assisted drying results in a product with better quality because of faster rate and saving energy.

Materials and methods: The fresh banana was cut into small pieces with a diameter of 1.0 mm after peeling. To prevent the enzymatic browning of samples, blanching was carried out by boiling water (100 °C) for 3 min. After that, the banana cuts were placed in a container containing 10°C water in order to cool. To produce pulps, the homemade Bosch mixer (model w600, CNSM, 30EW, Slovenia) at a speed of 1500 rpm and 1.0 min was used. Then, the pulps were mixed with skim milk at different concentrations (3-6 % w/w) and homogenized by ultra-turrax (IKA® Labortechnik) at 10000 rpm for 5.0 min. Moreover; the prepared xanthan gum was added to the mixture at concentrations of 0.15 and 0.25%. Xanthan gum was prepared by adding 1.0 g gum into 100 mL water and mixing by magnet stirrer. Afterwards, the gum solution was kept overnight at 4 °C for complete hydration. Finally, the sample transferred into the foam-maker device which was connected to a nitrogen gas tank with different flow rate (0.2-2 L min-1). The speed and time were adjusted to 16000 rpm and 5.0 min, respectively. After the producing of banana milk foam and selecting optimum sample based on the lowest density and the highest stability, the drying kinetic of this sample was studied. Then the banana milk foam was dried using microwave (360, 660 and 900 V) in a glass plate with diameter of 3.0 and 5.0 mm. Foam density and stability were determined by the methods of Xian-Zheetal (2010), Stauffer (1999) and Bag et al. (2010). The color of samples was studied by hunterlab. Moisture content also was measured based on the AACC standard method (AACC, 2000). Glass transition temperature also was determined by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC, model OIT-500 Sanaf Electronics Co, Iran).

Results and Discussion: In the present study, foam-mat method and microwave drying were used to reduce the drying damages. Nitrogen gas and xanthan gum also were used respectively to control foam generation and improve the stability of foams. Optimization of the banana milk production was carried out using response surface methodology based on three variables including the rate of nitrogen gas (0.2-2 L min-1), concentration of xanthan gum (0.15-0.25 %) and milk to banana ratio (1:6 and 1:3). Optimization was done based on the highest stability and lowest foam density. The optimum condition was proposed as the nitrogen gas rate of 0.2 L min-1, xanthan gum of 0.22 % and 3% banana which showed the density of 0.39 and the highest stability (0 mL after 1.0 h). After that, the optimum sample was dried by microwave. The effects of three levels of microwave voltage (360, 660 and 900 V) and two diameters (3 and 5 mm) were evaluated for drying of optimum sample. The results showed that the sample dried with diameter of 3 mm and voltage of 900 V had the highest L*, highest glass transition temperature and the lowest moisture content.


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