Thermogravimetric Analysis of the Frying Process for Protein-based Foods

Research Poster
Usoshi Chatterjee
Dennis R. Heldman
Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

The objective of the project is to increase the efficiency of the bacon bit manufacturing process. The study focuses on evaluating the effects of different factors such as batch size, composition variability of the bacon, and raw material temperature. These also affect water activity (Aw) of the product, and Aw is directly related to shelf-stability. Each batch of raw material for the bacon bit processing is analyzed for fat content, moisture content, and color. The process variables monitored are oil and bacon bits temperatures, process time, oil and bacon bits masses before and after processing and their mass ratio. The quality of the finished product is monitored by measuring Aw, color, fat content, and moisture content. Mass and energy balance equations have been developed to understand what happens to the product and to see where changes in the process can be made to increase the efficiency. As part of the study, a novel image processing technique is being developed to monitor the quality of the finished product. Images of the finished product are compared against various standards and the raw material to understand the changes due to the process. Correlations will be developed to predict Aw, and positive correlations may lead to future studies for development of algorithms for rapid compositional analysis. Initial results indicate that decreasing batch size and increasing input product temperature results will increase in moisture content and Aw. Increasing the efficiency will decrease raw material waste and produce larger profit margins for meat processors.