X-ray microtomography provides new insights into vacuum impregnation of spinach leaves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Vacuum impregnation is used in the food industry to facilitate the impregnation of porous products with, e.g. firming, antioxidant, antimicrobial or cryoprotective agents. X-ray micro-tomography (μCT) was used to study the process of vacuum impregnation in spinach leaves. Low (300 mbar absolute pressure) and mild vacuum (150 mbar absolute pressure) impregnation protocols were used to impregnate an isotonic solution of trehalose in the leaves and μCT was used to make observations of the cross section of the impregnated samples and quantify their porosity. Results revealed that the free volume in the spongy mesophyll is easier to impregnate than the spaces around the palisade mesophyll. The low vacuum impregnation protocol provoked less impregnation close to the edge of the leaf than in its centre, probably accounting for an influence of the tissue structure on impregnation. The vacuum impregnation protocols tested in this investigation drastically decreased the proportion of large pores (>100 μm) and increased the proportion of small pores (<50 μm). The mild vacuum impregnation protocol, which was designed on the basis of measured apparent porosity, did not achieve full impregnation of the tissue.

Details

Authors
  • Valentina Panarese
  • Els Herremans
  • Dennis Cantre
  • Eda Demir
  • Antonio Vicente
  • Federico Gomez
  • Bart M Nicolai
  • Pieter Verboven
Organisations
External organisations
  • University of Bologna
  • Catholic University of Leuven
  • Optifreeze AB
  • University of Minho
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Food Engineering
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-57
JournalJournal of Food Engineering
Volume188
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes