Characterization of Product Quality Attributes and Thermal Properties of Potato Chips during Vacuum Frying



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Vacuum frying is an alternative processing method for producing high quality snacks with the advantages of lower processing temperature, enhanced organoleptic quality, and reduced acrylamide content. Vacuum frying (1.33 kPa), with the aid of a deoiling mechanism, was used to produce low-fat potato chips. The kinetics of oil absorption and oil distribution in the potato chips (total, internal, and surface oil content) was studied so that effectiveness of the de-oiling system could be established. An analysis of product quality attributes (PQA) such as moisture content, oil content, microstructure, diameter shrinkage, and thickness expansion, as well as, bulk density, true density, and porosity of chips fried at different temperatures (120, 130, and 140 degrees C) was performed in order to evaluate the effect of process temperature on the product. Moreover, heat capacity of the chips and convective heat transfer coefficient at the oil-chip interface were determined for the same temperature range. The final oil content of the potato chips was 0.072?0.004, 0.062?0.003, and 0.059?0.003 g/g solid for frying temperatures of 120, 130, and 140 degrees C, respectively. These values are lower (80-85 percent less) than those found in traditionally-fried potato chip which indicates that the de-oiling mechanism is crucial in vacuum frying processing. A significant difference (P<0.05) was observed in oil content and oil distribution within temperatures. It was found that the rate of change in PQAs is greatly affected by temperature; however, the final values of moisture content, bulk density, true density, porosity, diameter shrinkage, and thickness expansion were not affected by temperature. During vacuum frying, the specific heat of potato chips decreased with time as water decreases. The convective heat transfer coefficient changed considerably as frying progresses; moreover, it increased with temperature reaching a maximum between 2,200 and 2,650 W/m2K depending on frying temperature.