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J Food Sci. 2015 May;80(5):E1021-5. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12854. Epub 2015 Mar 31.

Effects of shape and size of agar gels on heating uniformity during pulsed microwave treatment.

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Dept. de Ingeniería Química, Alimentos y Ambiental Univ. de las Américas Puebla , Ex-Hacienda Santa Catarina Mártir S/N, Cholula, Puebla, 72810, México.
Dept. de Electrónica, Div. de Ingenierías, Campus Irapuato-Salamanca, Univ. de Guanajuato, Carretera Salamanca - Valle de Santiago km. 3.5 + 1.8. Comunidad de Palo Blanco, Salamanca, Guanajuato, 36700, México.
Dept. de Alimentos, Div. de Ciencias de la Vida, Campus Irapuato-Salamanca, Univ. de Guanajuato, Carretera Irapuato-Silao km. 9, Irapuato, Guanajuato, 36500, México.


Model gel systems with different shape (sphere, cylinder, and slab) and size (180 and 290 g) were prepared with agar (5%) and sucrose (5%). Dielectric constant (ε'), loss factor (ε"), thermophysical properties, and temperature distribution of the model system were measured. Each agar model system was immersed and suspended in water, and then, heated in a microwave oven with intermittent heating until the core temperature reached 50 °C. The ε' and ε" of agar gels decreased when frequency increased. The density and thermal conductivity values of the agar gels were 1033 kg/m(3) and 0.55 W/m °C, respectively. The temperature distribution of sphere, cylinder, and slab was different when similar power doses were applied. The slab reached 50 °C in less time (10 min) and showed a more uniform heating than spheres and cylinders in both sizes. Agar model systems of 180 g heated faster than those of 290 g. The coldest point was the center of the model systems in all studied cases. Shape and size are critical food factors that affect the heating uniformity during microwave heating processes.


Agar model; microwave heating; shape and size; temperature distribution

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