Abstract

Parallel transformation tests on pineapple slices using two micro drying plants (M1 and M2) operating with solar energy were carried out. Method M1 consisted of an active fan at the top, whose ventilation rate depended on the internal temperature. Method M2 had a continuously working fan at the bottom. The dehydration performance of these two micro-plants was compared by collecting spectra from pineapple slices in reflectance mode (900–1600 nm) at three different times: (0) process start, (1) during the process [48 h] and (2) process end [56 h]. Simultaneously, dry matter, titratable acidity (SH°), pH and aw (water activity) were measured. For these parameters, significant differences (p < 0.05) were detected between the fresh (t = 0) and the dried product (t = 56). Near infrared (NIR) spectroscopic analysis was carried out according to previously published methods. Spectral data in the wavelength region from 1300 to 1550 nm underwent statistical processing to perform aquaphotomics evaluation and chemometric analysis using PCA (Principal Component Analysis) and LDA (Linear Discriminant Analysis). The aquagrams highlighted differences among fresh, half-dried and dried slices where water molecules were highly organized between the water matrix coordinates C1 to C3 at t = 0 and C2 to C6 for the other evaluated times. The PCA could explain about 98% of the total variance in the PC1–PC3 scores plot. And the additional LDA classified the NIR spectra with an accuracy of 100, 98 and 83% for t = 0, t = 56-M1 and t = 56-M2, respectively. Such preliminary results suggest the applicability of Aquaphotomics and chemometrics for the continuous monitoring of fruit drying processes using an adequate NIR probe. Further experiments are already in progress.

© 2021 The Author(s)

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