Improvement of water transport and carotenoid retention during drying of papaya by applying ultrasonic osmotic pretreatment
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The effect of ultrasound and osmotic dehydration pretreatments on papaya drying kinetics was investigated. The ultrasound pretreatment was carried out in an ultrasonic bath at 30 A degrees C. The osmotic pretreatment in sucrose solution was carried out in an incubator at 34 A degrees C and agitation of 80 rpm for 210 min. The drying process was conducted in a fixed bed dryer at 70 A degrees C. Experimental data were fitted successfully using the Page model for dried fresh and pretreated fruits, with coefficient of determination greater than 0.9992 and average relative error lower that 14.4 %. The diffusional model was used to describe the moisture transfer, and the effective water diffusivity was identified in the order of 10(-9) m(2) s(-1). It was found that drying rates of osmosed fruits were the lowest due to the presence of infused solutes, while the ultrasound pretreatment contributed to faster drying rates. Evaluation of the dried fruit was performed by means of total carotenoids retention. Ultrasound treatments in distilled water prior to air-drying gave rise to dried papayas with retention of carotenoids in the range 30.4-39.8 % and the ultrasonic-assisted osmotic dehydration of papayas showed carotenoids retention values up to 64.9 %, whereas the dried fruit without pretreatment showed carotenoids retention lower than 24 %.