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Innovative drying technology future of food preservation


According to a well-known proverb “one apple a day keeps the doctor away“, suggesting that the healthy components which occur in fruits and vegetables can prevent diet-related diseases. Unfortunately, fresh fruits and vegetables are not always available and frozen food is not really handy either. What is less complicated, however, is dried food. During the past two years scientists from the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena and the Technische Universität Dresden/Germany as well as the Zittauer Fruchtveredlungs GmbH (ZIFRU) have been successfully testing how dried food can be processed so gently as to preserve as many vitamins and secondary plant compounds as possible.

Examining various processing conditions, the researchers noticed that the food not only kept its valuable substances after drying but it also showed other attractive characteristics such as a crispy texture, stable colour and puffed structure. Moreover, the scientists found that the method which was tested for strawberries can be transferred to other kinds of berries, apples and vegetables, too. Therefore, the vacuum microwave puffing technology could soon stand as a new synonym of food preservation.

The Jena university carried out a complementary study, examining the impact of both frozen strawberries and strawberries dried using the innovative vacuum microwave puffing technolgy on the human body. In both cases the anti-oxidative capacity in the blood increased and the immune system was strengthened, which can be explained by the amount of vitamins contained in the strawberries. After two years of research an impressing comparison was finally drawn: 2 ounces dried strawberries deliver as many nutritionally valuable substances as 12 ounces frozen srawberries. In other words, two handfuls of dried strawberries are the same as two packages of frozen ones.

The information regarding the healthy aspects and the scientific basis are now to be passed on to the consumer as well as to the food industry in order to enhance the medium-sized company’s position. However, fruit snacks made at ZIFRU are already for sale in France and a German natural product company has expressed its interest, too. Given this, all of the research project’s aims, which the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations “Otto von Guericke“ funded with 315.000 euros, were achieved.

Prof Harald Rohm | alfa
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