Drying is classified as one of the most commonly used unit operations in food technology. Its main purpose is to preserve food, and this is connected with reducing the growth of micro organisms and with inhibiting enzymatic and non-enzymatic reactions. That process is limited mainly by internal resistances to water movement that are a consequence of the cellular structure of material being dried. The increasing requirements of both the consumers demanding high quality products and the manufacturers, who look for cost-effective solutions, are the reasons why alternative methods are sought to replace thermal methods of food pre-treatment prior to the drying process. One of the most promising pre-treatment techniques is the application of high voltage electric pulses, known as pulse electric fields (PEF). A high voltage, varying electric field applied as a pre-treatment prior to the main treatment process was found to have a particularly significant effect in the case of operations determined by mass-transfer resistance inside the material, for instance, during extraction, pressing, and, especially, during osmotic dehydration and drying.
pulsed electric field, PEF, drying, osmotic dehydration, pre-treatment