Food drying at sub-zero temperature: Importance of glassy phase on product quality
Large number of drying researches have been carried out in pharmaceutical and food sectors with particular interest of the quality assurance. Freeze-drying is known as one of the best drying method for maintaining original product qualities. However, it involves numbers of potential factors that lead quality loss of the product. This review elucidated the mechanisms of freeze-drying with particular focus on the phenomena relating to the glassy phase. Freezing process involves formation of the ice crystal and freeze-concentrated phase (i.e. glassy phase), and the relaxation of the glassy phase. This process determines ice crystal morphology, the degree of freeze-concentration and the crystallinity of the concentrated matters. Product temperature during freeze-drying affects various quality attributes, and the influence was dependent on how high is the temperature from the glass transition temperature. These explanations were made with the X-ray CT images of freeze-dried materials. It is important to understand the mechanisms of phenomena in the glassy phase in order to optimize product quality. A method that can deal with the complicated interaction of the kinetics in a glassy matter could be a clue.
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