In recent years, microwave heating has become increasingly popular all over the world, in particular for modern household as well as commercial food-processing applications, due to increased economic merits in many developing countries such as steady economic growth, high disposable income, etc. Microwave heating is known for its operational safety and nutrient retention capacity with minimal loss of heat-labile nutrients and vitamins, dietary antioxidant phenols and carotenoids. This review is aimed at providing a brief yet comprehensive update on prospects of microwave heating for food processing applications, with special emphasis on the benefits over conventional heating and its impact on food quality in terms of microbial and nutritional value changes.
Microwave cooking is a process whereby microwave rays produced by magnetrons are directed toward food items or heating medium, which absorb the electromagnetic energy volumetrically to achieve self-heating uniformly and rapidly. Microwave radiation stands distinguished from other electromagnetic radiation for its unique capability of heating any product or item from the core to the surface hence retaining all its essential nutrients and processing in the least possible time. Microwaves obey the laws of optics-they are transmitted, reflected or absorbed depending on the nature of materials.
The heating prodigies are distinctive for conventional or traditional and microwave heating and processing of materials. Conventional processing mechanisms include heating the surface and then transmitting the heat into the materials by the phenomenon of conduction, convention, and radiation.
Following are the advantages of Microwave heating and cooking over conventional heating –
- Uniform heating
- Require a smaller equipment
- Precisely controllable
- No burned or overheated product
- Increases Process speed
- No fumes and pollutants
- Acceptable chemical and physical effects
- Selective/Volumetric heating
- Improves reproducibility
- Reduce wastage of heat
- Minimum use of energy
- Least processing time
The above listed points are more than enough to convince anybody of the merits microwave cooking holds over conventional or other type of cooking methodology and mechanisms. Let us further shed some light on a few Do’s and Don’ts to be considered before operating microwaves –
KERONE designs, manufactures and installs machinery batch as well as continuous industrial ovens, dryers, curing systems and many more, power sourced by microwave, infrared, radio frequency and convection radiation for all types of industrial processes. KERONE has constantly been the choice of multiple customers for their extensive ‘hands-on’ experience in various heating technologies and providing solutions for the same. We also produce machinery as per consumer specifications and provide technical assistance. Reducing environmental impacts is also an important issue, we concern about and hence all our equipment and solution development is focused on minimizing utilities consumption and better water and energy stewardship, reducing the product losses and wastages generated by the process.