Drying characteristics of zucchini and empirical modeling of its drying process
The aim of the study was to dry zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) by two different methods (convective hot-air (CHD) and microwave-assisted drying (MWD)). The effect of air temperature (60, 70 and 80°C), microwave (MW) power (180, 360, 540 W) and sample thickness (5 and 10 mm) on some drying characteristics of zucchini were investigated. Thirteen mathematical models available in the literature were fitted to the experimental moisture ratio data. The coefficients of the models were determined by non-linear regression analysis. It was determined that the model that fits the moisture ratio data the best varies at different drying conditions. Increasing drying temperature and MW power and reducing sample thickness improved the drying rate and drying time. Drying in microwave has reduced the drying time by 52-64% for zucchini. It was found that the effective moisture diffusivities increased with increasing temperature and MW power. MWD samples had better rehydration ratios compared to ones dried only in tray drier for 5 mm thickness.
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