, Volume 226, Issue 6, pp 1545-1552
Date: 26 Jun 2007

Effect of sun-drying on microstructure and texture of S. Bartolomeu pears (Pyrus communis L.)

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Histological and mechanical studies were conducted to evaluate the changes that are conferred by a traditional sun-drying process on the texture and microstructure of a Portuguese pear cultivar (Pyrus communis L. var. S. Bartolomeu). Sun-drying processing of the pears results in loss of water, cell flattening and shrinkage, loss of cellular adhesion, and even loss of cell wall integrity. The sun-drying process significantly reduced the hardness and fracturability of the pear tissues, while increasing their cohesiveness, springiness and adhesiveness. The results obtained by texture and microstructure analysis of the fresh pear flesh reflect essentially an unified matrix comprising well-packed cells strongly bonded together whereas those of the sun-dried pear flesh pointed out a soft solid with many individual cells distributed in a soft matrix, explaining its softer and chewy texture.