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A Theoretical Model for the Control of Color Degradation and Microbial Spoilage Occurring in Food Convective Drying

S. Curcio1 M. Aversa1
1University of Calabria, Department of Engineering Modeling, Rende, Cosenza, Italy

Schematic representation of the drying chamber.

The aim of this work was the
development of a predictive model aimed at
identifying a proper control strategy of food
drying process. In particular, it was intended to
determine the effect of operating conditions both
on the color degradation, chosen as a reference
quality parameter, and on the microbial spoilage
occurring during potatoes drying. A transport
model, accounting for the simultaneous transfer
of momentum, heat and mass occurring in the
drying air and in the food sample, was
formulated and coupled both to a product
decontamination model, describing the microbial
inactivation kinetics of Listeria monocytogenes
and to another model aimed at predicting the
kinetics of color changes occurring during
drying. The proposed model allowed
determining, on the basis of a dynamic
optimization algorithm, a trajectory of operating
conditions that has to be tracked by means of
proper control systems so as to optimize the
performance of drying process.

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