Fruit Preservation and Design of Functional Fruit Products by Vacuum Impregnation
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© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.Vacuum impregnation (VI) can be used to obtain minimally processed fruits, intermediate moisture products, and functional foods, and to improve different food preservation processes. In VI, a porous solid (food) is immersed in a concentrated solution and submitted to a pressure below atmospheric pressure, followed by restoration to atmospheric conditions. Osmotic pressure differences between the solution and the food or chemical potential gradient between the solution and the intracellular fluid act as the driving force for water removal. During impregnation, food acts as a semipermeable membrane in which water is lost mainly due to osmo-diffusion and capillary flow phenomena. VI reduces water activity in foods allows obtaining foods of intermediate moisture content, and it is also used as a pretreatment before drying or freezing to increase quality of final products. Different ingredients can be incorporated into the porous structure of foods to generate compositional changes to improve quality and to achieve stability requirements. Beneficial microorganisms and compounds like minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals can also be incorporated into the food matrix, which can lead to functional products with improved characteristics.