QUT researchers are working to design faster, cheaper, and better ways to conserve food.
Published in journal PLOS One, researchers used QUT’s supercomputing facilities to examine the micromechanical behaviour of plant tissues and how biological cells behave while dehydrated or dried.
Lead investigator Dr Charith Rathnayaka is a computational scientist from QUT’s Faculty of Science and Engineering investigating the physics, mathematics, and biology of agricultural cell structures to improve food production.
“By developing the computational model, it is possible to estimate how the cells are being damaged when they are being processed for preservation, storage or packaging,” Dr Rathnayaka said.
“This innovation has the potential to influence the future of food drying processes globally in terms of reducing cost, optimising food processing, energy conservation and increasing dried food shelf life.”
Key findings: –
- Study looks at how plant cells behave under different types of mechanical forces
- Research involved two-step simulation and experimental stages
- The computational model developed conclusively demonstrated it can simulate the micromechanical behaviour of dried plant cells
- Provide insight on improving design of industrial machinery for food drying processes
- Implications to move beyond plant cells to biomedical and human cosmetic applications.
Dr Rathnayaka said the findings of this study could lead to better designs for industrial drying of fruits, vegetables, or any other plant biological material.
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