EMERGING FOOD TECHNOLOGIES in .NET framework

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effect of the chlorine solution in reducing microbial populations on broiler breast skin (33).
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8.5 8.5.1
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Research on the use of microwave and radio frequency started during World War II as a by-product of the wide applications of radar technology. The domestic microwave oven is now a common appliance in households. In food applications, microwave heating is accomplished using frequencies of 2450 or 915 MHz, corresponding to 12 or 34 cm in wavelength. Domestic ovens operate at 2450 MHz. RF heating uses frequencies of 13.56, 27.12, and 40.68 MHz. Dielectric and ionic heating are the major mechanisms involved in heating foods with MW or RF. Dielectric heating results from the movement of the polar molecules trying to align themselves to the rapidly changing direction of the electric eld that creates frictional heat. The dominant polar materials are water molecules; therefore, the water content of the food is an important factor for the dielectric heating performance of foods. Other food components such as salt, protein, and carbohydrates are also dipolar ingredients. As these are volumetrically distributed within food material, dielectric heating results in volumetric heating, which is fast and more uniform when compared with conventional heating. At higher temperatures, the electric resistance heating from the dissolved ions also plays a role in the heating mechanisms. The dielectric properties of foods are the key parameters determining the coupling and distribution of electromagnetic energy, thus deciding the heating effectiveness of MW and RF. Dielectric properties are normally described by dielectric constant and loss factor. Dielectric constant describes the ability of a material to store energy in response to an applied electric eld. The loss factor describes the ability of a material to dissipate energy in response to an applied electric eld, i.e., the ability to generate heat. Dielectric properties depend on chemical compositions of the foods, moisture content, and bulk density. They are also highly dependent on temperature and the frequency of applied electric eld. Dielectric property data for various materials are widely dispersed in the technical literature (34, 35). Runaway heating, a potential problem associated with MW and RF heating, implies that the loss factor increases with the increase in temperature that leads to uneven heating in which regions of food with higher temperature will absorb more supplied energy. It has a higher probability to occur in RF than MW heating, due to the more rapid increase in loss factor with increasing temperature associated with lower frequencies. For example, research has shown that dielectric loss factors of whey protein products, and macaroni and
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cheese increased sharply at 27 and 40 MHz with increasing temperature, but only slightly increased at 915 and 1800 MHz (34). Penetration depth is another important property for dielectric heating, which de nes the distance an incident electromagnetic wave can penetrate beneath the surface of a material as the power decreases to 1/e of its power at the surface. It is determined by the dielectric constant and the loss factor of the food. The penetration depth is approximately 1 to 2 cm at 2450 MHz for a normal moist food, and decreases at higher temperatures. The penetration depths at RF range are about four times as deep as for microwave frequencies, which allow RF energy to penetrate dielectric material more deeply with more uniform heating along the depth of a food package than MW energy. Therefore, MW heating is suitable for packages with relatively smaller thickness (e.g., 1 to 2 cm), while RF heating can be applied for packages and trays with large institutional sizes up to 4 to 8 cm in depth (34, 36). MW and RF heating for food pasteurization and sterilization purposes have been widely explored (18). Compared with conventional heating, they require less time to come up to the desired process temperature, which enable hightemperature, short-time processing for solid and semisolid foods that maximizes retention of desired nutrients. As a volumetric heating process, it is also possible to obtain greater uniformity in heating than conventional heating. Furthermore, it is also more convenient to control as the heating can be turned on and off instantaneously. In many applications, MW and RF processing systems can be more energy-ef cient. 8.5.2 Technical Design Microwave equipment mainly consists of a microwave generator (magnetron) that converts electric energy into microwaves, a metal cavity where foods are heated, and waveguides made of aluminum tubes. For a continuous operation, the cavity may be substituted with a tunnel tted with a conveyor belt. Figure 8.7 shows a schematic diagram of a 915-MHz pilot-scale microwave system
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