Document Type : Research Article


Biosystem Engineering Department, Sari Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources University, Sari, Iran


 Due to the importance of product appearance quality in product grading and the impact of factors such as area, uniformity, and various defects on the product quality, and also, the ability to recognize these features at a very low cost, image processing techniques, is one of the methods used to evaluate food quality. Therefore, in this study, a non-destructive image processing method was used to investigate the factors affecting the color and shrinkage of apple slices during drying.
Materials and Methods
 Golden delicious apples were used in this research. The central part of the apple (including the rivet, seeds, and tail) was removed by a kernel separator and sliced into 3, 5, and 7mm thickness and approximately 7 mm diameter slices using a hand slicer without separating the skin. Three temperatures of 60, 70, and 80 °C were used to dry the samples. To determine the moisture content of a sliced apple, the samples were first weighed on a digital scale, then placed in a dryer, and the experiment was continued until the samples reached equilibrium mass. Due to the high importance of moisture ratio in controlling the drying process, moisture rate (MR) and moisture content (MC) were calculated, and samples were taken to investigate the amount of surface shrinkage, general color changes and browning index. After extracting L*, a*, and b* values, total color changes and browning index (to show the intensity of brown color in the product) for all samples before and after drying were calculated and evaluated to describe color changes after drying.
Results and Discussion
 The drying kinetics results showed that the drying process significantly depends on the thickness of the samples. According to drying curves, at the early stages of drying, the decrease in humidity occurs more severely and the graph has a steeper slope, but as the process continues and the moisture content of the product decreases, the slope of the curve decreases. In the early stages of drying, due to the presence of water inside the fresh fruit cells, there is a pressure balance between the fruit and the surrounding environment, which causes the fruit to remain swollen. However, as the drying time progressed, contractile stresses are created, which cause superficial shrinkage. In this study, it was observed that increasing the thickness from 3mm to 7mm, reduced the final shrinkage on the surface of apple slices by 11% at 60 °C, 12% at 70 °C, and 13% at 80 °C. After moisture leaves the surface of the product and heat penetrates into the product, moisture begins to leave the product by conducting interstitial convection. When moisture moves to the surface, the mechanical balance and consequently the textural structure of the sample is disturbed due to the creation of different spaces in thickness. According to the results, increasing drying time and thus decreasing the moisture content, increases the percentage of apple shrinkage. On the other hand, at a certain thickness, with increasing temperature, the percentage of shrinkage changes in the thickness of the product decreases. Therefore, at thicknesses of 3, 5, and 7 mm, the increase in temperature from 60°C to 80°C, decreased the amount of shrinkage thickness by 16, 12, and 8%, respectively. It is in higher thicknesses that react with heat and change the color of the fruit due to the Maillard reaction. After complete drying of apple samples, the highest amount of color change was related to the thickness of 7 mm and a temperature of 80°C, which was equal to 1.254. Also, the lowest rate of discoloration of apple slices in a thickness of 3 mm and a temperature of 60 °C was 0.889. The browning index (Bi) in the high thickness of apple slices is less affected by the process temperature due to the increase in moisture level. For this reason, the rate of browning was very low among the experimental samples and the highest rate of browning was related to the thickness of 7 mm and the temperature of 80 °C was 585/2559. Also, the lowest rate of browning of apple slices was observed in the thickness of 3 mm and the temperature of 60 °C was 584.254.
 Finally, it was found that the thickness and temperature factors can have an effect on the quality of product during drying process. The results of this study can provide a cheap and fast way to control the quality of fruits during drying and help producers of these products select the main process factors that affect the final quality.


Main Subjects

©2023 The author(s). This is an open access article distributed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source.

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