• equilibrium;
  • liquid phase concentration;
  • osmotic dehydration;
  • overconcentration

ABSTRACT:  Previous results on apple tissue equilibration during osmotic dehydration showed that, at very long processing times, the solute concentrations of the fruit liquid phase and the osmotic solution were the same. In the present study, changes in apple liquid phase composition throughout equilibrium in osmotic dehydration were analyzed and modeled. Results showed that, by the time osmosed samples reached the maximum weight and volume loss, solute concentration of the fruit liquid phase was higher than that of the osmotic solution. The reported overconcentration could be explained in terms of the apple structure shrinkage that occurred during the osmotic dehydration with highly concentrated osmotic solutions due to the elastic response of the food structure to the loss of water and intake of solutes. The fruit liquid phase overconcentration rate was observed to depend on the concentration of the osmotic solution, the processing temperature, the sample size, and shape of the cellular tissue.