Microwave Drying of Pre-treated Abalone Slices: Efficiency and Protein Quality

Jenn Hoskins
6th May, 2024

Microwave Drying of Pre-treated Abalone Slices: Efficiency and Protein Quality

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Study in Chile shows PEF+VMD method speeds up drying of abalone, preserving quality
  • PEF+VMD reduces energy use by up to 33% compared to traditional drying
  • Treated abalone retains better texture and rehydrates well, indicating higher quality
In the food industry, preserving the quality of seafood while extending its shelf life is a significant challenge. Traditional drying methods often result in a loss of product quality and can be energy-intensive. However, a recent study from the Universidad del Bío-Bío[1] has explored a novel approach that could revolutionize the drying process for Chilean abalone, a type of mollusk valued for its culinary delicacy. The research team applied a pulsed electric field (PEF) as a pretreatment before vacuum microwave drying (VMD). PEF is a technology that uses short bursts of high voltage to permeabilize cell membranes, a process known as electroporation[2]. This technique, previously shown to enhance the physicochemical and nutritional qualities in meat and fish, can now also improve the drying process for seafood[2]. In this study, researchers tested the combined effect of PEF and VMD on the drying kinetics, energy consumption, and quality of the Chilean abalone. They discovered that applying PEF before VMD increased the moisture diffusivity by up to 27%. This means that moisture could escape from the abalone tissue more easily during the drying process, potentially speeding up drying time. The researchers used several mathematical models to analyze the drying process and found that the Logarithmic model best described the VMD experimental values. This model helped them understand how the abalone was drying at different stages of the process. One of the most striking findings was the reduction in energy consumption. By combining PEF with VMD, the energy required for drying at 120W and 120/260W settings was cut by up to 33% compared to samples that did not receive the PEF pretreatment. This not only indicates a more sustainable process but also suggests cost savings for large-scale drying operations. Quality-wise, the abalone treated with PEF followed by VMD at 120/260W had the best outcomes. These samples boasted a 61% rehydration index, meaning they could regain a significant amount of water after drying, which is indicative of better quality in dried seafood products. Additionally, the texture of these samples was superior, making them more appealing to consumers. The combined PEF+VMD treatment also had a positive effect on the protein digestibility of the abalone. The highest degree of hydrolysis, which is a measure of protein breakdown into smaller peptides and amino acids, was 11% for the calculated protein efficiency. This could potentially make the protein in abalone more accessible for human digestion. Incorporating these findings with earlier research, it's clear that innovative drying technologies like PEF and VMD are not only beneficial for meat products[3], but also for seafood. The antioxidant packaging approach in cooked turkey meat[3] and the PEF treatment for meat and fish[2] show that these technologies can enhance food quality. Similarly, the advantages of microwave vacuum drying over traditional drying methods have been demonstrated in squid shreds, as it preserves the quality and reduces drying time[4]. Now, these benefits are extended to Chilean abalone, highlighting the versatility and potential of these technologies across different types of seafood. The study by the Universidad del Bío-Bío demonstrates that combining PEF and VMD is a promising method for drying Chilean abalone. It offers a more energy-efficient process and results in a higher quality product. This research not only provides a new avenue for seafood preservation but also aligns with the growing demand for sustainable and quality-focused food processing methods. As the food industry continues to seek innovative solutions, the findings of this study pave the way for more cost-effective and environmentally friendly drying techniques.

NutritionSustainabilityMarine Biology


Main Study

1) Vacuum microwave drying of PEF-pretreated Chilean abalone (Concholepas Concholepas) slices: drying features, sustainability parameters, and protein quality properties

Published 5th May, 2024


Related Studies

2) Application of pulsed electric fields in meat and fish processing industries: An overview.


3) Effect of an active packaging with citrus extract on lipid oxidation and sensory quality of cooked turkey meat.


4) Effects of microwave vacuum drying and conventional drying methods on the physicochemical and microstructural properties of squid shreds.


Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙