Microwave dryers effectively applied in food processing

The application of high frequency waves in drying produce and food is one of the most prominent ideas introduced by the Center for Statistics and Science & Technology Information (CESTI), a member of the Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) Department of Science and Technology.

The device to apply microwave technology is introduced at CESTI. Photo by T.Ba
The device to apply microwave technology is introduced at CESTI. Photo by T.Ba

Food processing and preservation have always been the concern of farmers and manufacturers. Until now, in Vietnam, the popular methods are to dry in the sun or hot-aired boilers, which takes a lot of time while nutrition cannot be fully maintained.

The new microwave technology now allows food to be manufactured and preserved much more effectively.

This new method of microwave application is researched by Dr. Nguyen Dinh Uyen and Mr. Tran Van Su from the Department of Electronics and Telecommunications in the International University (Vietnam National University – HCMC). The benefit of this method is the ability to use ultra small waves to penetrate food and dry it in a tiny amount of time, successfully maintaining much of its nutrition as well as its appearance. This kind of wave is also able to kill the two most typical bacteria of E.coli and Salmonella in the processed food.

According to Dr. Nguyen Dinh Uyen, microwave has been used to kill bacteria for a long time, especially in the medical field. At the moment, this wave is applied in other aspects like food processing, wood drying, rice beetle eliminating. In Vietnam, it has been exploited by giant enterprises, yet the number of small-scale businesses and individual farmers that make use of this technology is still quite limited.

From the project to develop a method to use microwave to kill bacteria in salanganes nest drinks, sponsored by the HCMC Department of Science and Technology, Dr. Uyen and his team cooperated with International Industrial Machinery and Equipment Joint Stock Co. (IMAE) to continue researching for a solution to dry produce via microwave, with the pilot on chilly, banana, mango, jackfruit, and cocoa.

The pilot has been quite positive as the drying time is reduced from a few days (in the traditional method) to a few minutes. In addition, the color and nutrition in these products are perfectly maintained. This new method makes water molecules in the food evaporate faster, yet is still able to save energy since it only focuses on the food itself to avoid unnecessary heat radiation.

Right now, this research result is commercialized and installed in certain businesses by IMAE.

Mr. Dao Quoc Hung, General Director of IMAE, shared that this new environmentally friendly machinery can reduce the production time, save energy, and has a reasonable price with an easy and flexible installation process. It is exceptionally suitable for drying produce like mango, jackfruit, peanut, cashew, and cocoa bean. In the near future, his company will mass produce the machinery to minimize the cost so that small-scale businesses and farmers are able to use them to their advantage.

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