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Osmotic dehydration is an operation used for the partial removal of water from plant tissues by immersion in a hyper-tonic (osmotic) solution.
Water removal is based on the natural and non-destructive phenomenon of osmosis across cell membranes. The driving force for the diffusion of water from the tissue into the solution is provided by the higher osmotic pressure of the hyper-tonic solution. The diffusion of water is accompanied by the simultaneous counter diffusion of solutes from the osmotic solution into the tissue. Since the cell membrane responsible for osmotic transport is not perfectly selective, solutes present in the cells (organic acids, reducing sugars, minerals, flavors and pigment compounds) can also be leached into the osmotic solution, which affect the organoleptic and nutritional characteristics of the product.
The rate of diffusion of water from any material made up of such tissues depends upon factors such as temperature and concentration of the osmotic solution, the size and geometry of the material, the solution-to-material mass ratio and, to a certain level, agitation of the solution.
- Rastogi,N.K., K.S.M.S.Raghavarao and K.Niranjan(2005). Developments in Osmotic Dehydration. Emerging technologies for food processing.ISBN 0-12-676757-2.