Journal of Food Engineering 60 (2003) 391–396 www.elsevier.com/locate/jfoodeng Study of some factors aﬀecting water absorption by amaranth grain during soaking Andrea N. Calzetta Resio, Roberto J. Aguerre, Constantino Su arez * Departamento de Industrias Tecnologia de Alimentos, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Ciudad Universitaria, Nunez, Buenos Aires 1428, Argentina Received 23 September 2002; accepted 8 February 2003 Abstract Water absorption by amaranth grain in plain water was determined at 30, 40, 50 and 60 °C by recording the weight increase in grain with respect to time. Water absorption kinetics at these temperatures was described by the FickÕs second law solution for diﬀusion out of sphere. Eﬀective diﬀusion coeﬃcients varied between 2.63 and 8.25 1012 m2 /s for the range investigated. The activation energy for diﬀusion obtained was 32.1 kJ mol1 . The rates of absorption in SO2 aqueous solution (0.01%, 0.02% and 0.03%, v/v) were slightly higher than in plain water at 40 and 60 °C. However, the increase in SO2 concentration did not seem to increase signiﬁcantly water absorption. Amaranth grain soaked in 0.02% (v/v) SO2 aqueous solution and variable lactic acid concentrations (0.0025% and 0.0050%, v/v) was performed at 40 °C. Absorption rates for lactic acid concentrations were 9.1% higher than those steeped only in SO2 aqueous solution; lactic acid concentration had no eﬀect on the absorption rate. The amount of total solids leached in sulfur dioxide solution with lactic acid (200 ppm SO2 + 0.005% lactic acid) was the highest when compared with the other steeping media investigated. Ó 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: Diﬀusion; Moisture; Saturation; Sulfur dioxide; Lactic acid; Solids 1. Introduction Diﬀerent factors have contributed to increase the interest of grain amaranth as food and feed source. Among them, the composition and properties of this crop have received special attention (Teutonico & Knorr, 1985). The main component of the grain is starch, about 48– 60% (Uriyapongson & Rayas-Duarte, 1994), which is considered to have promising applications in food and non-food areas. Another components of the grain are lysine rich protein, 12–18%, and 5–8% fat that contain high level of squalene (Myers & Fox, 1994). In the past two decades substantial investigation was performed on the functional and physicochemical properties of the main components of grain amaranth, starch and protein (Calzetta Resio, Tolaba, & Suarez, 2000; Paredes-L opez, Schevenin, Hern andez-L opez, & Carabez-Trejo, 1989; Yanez, Messinger, Walker, & Rupnow, 1986; Zhao & Whistler, 1994). Despite the * Corresponding author. Tel./fax: +54-11-4576-3366. E-mail address: [email protected] (C. Suarez). 0260-8774/$ - see front matter Ó 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/S0260-8774(03)00062-1 substantial interest on both products, separation of amaranth starch from protein is somewhat diﬃcult because of the close bounding between the two components. Currently, there is no commercial process for recovering starch from amaranth (Myers & Fox, 1994). Conventional methods such as pearling (Betschart, Irving, Shephard, & Saunders, 1981) and stone-milling (Becker, Irving, & Saunders, 1986) resulted eﬀective in separating amaranth protein and starch fractions. Myers and Fox (1994) used a modiﬁed laboratory method for the wet milling of amaranth to recover starch from it. However, such as pointed out by Lehmann (1996), if the ring embryo conveys novel beneﬁts in amaranth nutrition, then further wet milling techniques need to be explored. In the wet-milling process, grains are almost invariably steeped in water at temperatures below gelatinization temperatures in the presence of chemical agents. In the wet-milling of corn, the grains are steeped in aqueous solution of SO2 to facilitate the isolation of starch. The presence of lactic acid in the steeping solution was investigated by Du, Li, Lopez-Filho, Daniels, and Eckhoﬀ (1996), who found an increase of starch yield in 392 A.N. Calzetta Resio et al. / Journal of Food Engineering 60 (2003) 391–396 comparison with the conventional corn wet-milling procedure. According to Haros and Suarez (1999) the presence of lactic acid in steep water, not only increases the rate of water absorption by corn kernels, reducing so the eﬀective steeping time, but also improves starchprotein separation. As we are interested to determine whether a wetmilling process with separation procedures similar to those used in the wet-milling of corn could be adapted for amaranth, a preliminary study was conducted to investigate the kinetics of water absorption by amaranth grain. As it is well recognized in various investigations concerning with the wet-milling of grains, hydration is one the most important factors in producing goodquality products (Haros, Viollaz, & Suarez, 1995; Norris & Rooney, 1970; Yuan, Chung, Seib, & Wang, 1998). Many works studied the quantitative analysis of water absorption for cereal grains (Becker, 1960; Fan, Chun, & Shellenberger, 1961; Tolaba, Viollaz, & Suarez, 1990), among others. In those investigations, FickÕs law of diﬀusion with constant diﬀusion coeﬃcient was used without introducing too much error in the results. Other investigations, however, have shown that the diﬀusion equation with constant diﬀusivity is inadequate in describing the water absorption curve (Hsu, 1983). Based on the present considerations the absorption characteristics of amaranth grain in plain water and various temperatures were investigated. Also, the eﬀect of certain chemical agents, SO2 and lactic acid, on the water absorption was investigated as well as a means to predict, quantitatively, the absorption kinetics in amaranth grain. 2. Materials and methods 2.1. Materials Mature grains of Amaranthus cruentus were harvested in the experimental cultivars of Facultad de Agronomıa, Santa Rosa, and La Pampa. After harvesting, the grains were cleaned from foreign materials by screening and stored at room temperature in sealed containers until used. The characteristics of the grain investigated are summarized in Table 1. Moisture content, fat, ash and protein were determined following standard AOAC methods 943.01, 920.39. 923.03 and 976.05, respectively Table 1 Characteristics of Amaranthus cruentus Moisture content (% db) Protein, (N 6.25)% Fat (%) Starch (%) Ash (%) Average diameter (mm) 10.5 16.8 7.7 73.0 3.1 0.9 (AOAC, 1995). Starch content was assessed by AACC method 76–11 (AACC, 1995). The average diameter of grains was evaluated from a size distribution analysis obtained by using three metal sieves with pore diameters of 870, 920 and 1000 lm. The weighed average diameter, d, was calculated from the expression: X d¼ ðdi qi Þ=q ð1Þ i where di is the average screen opening, qi is the weight between (i 1)th P and ith sieve starting from the largest one, and q ¼ i qi is the total sample weight. 2.2. Experimental procedure 2.2.1. Eﬀect of temperature Water absorption data were obtained by placing 10 0.5 g of amaranth grains in 150 ml screw-cap ﬂasks containing distilled water. The ﬂasks were placed in constant-temperature water bath controlled within 0.5 °C of the testing temperature. At regular intervals the ﬂasks were removed from the bath for moisture content determination. For this purpose, the grains were rapidly removed from the ﬂasks and superﬁcially dried on a large ﬁlter paper to eliminate the surface water. The grains were then weighed to determine the moisture uptake. Experiments were conducted at 30, 40, 50 and 60 °C and for immersion periods from several minutes to about 3 h. 2.2.2. Eﬀect of sulfur dioxide on soaking To study the eﬀect of sulfur dioxide on water absorption three solutions containing 0.01%, 0.02% and 0.03% of the chemical, by volume, were prepared by dissolving the appropriate amounts of NaHSO3 in distilled water. The grain samples were placed in screw-cap ﬂasks to prevent escape of SO2 gas. The ﬂasks were immersed in a thermostatic water bath at 40 and 60 °C for water absorption determinations. 2.2.3. Eﬀect of sulfur dioxide and lactic acid on soaking Soaking solutions containing 0.02%, v/v, SO2 and variable concentration of lactic acid: 0.0025% and 0.005% by volume were prepared to evaluate the eﬀect of both agents on water absorption. The soaking temperature tested for such purpose was 40 °C. 2.3. Total solids determination The mass of solids leached during water steeping in plain water, in aqueous solutions of 0.02%, v/v, SO2 and 0.02% SO2 + 0.0025% lactic acid, by volume, was determined by the method of Steinke and Johnson (1991). A 10 ml sample of the steeping water was placed in a weighed aluminum ﬂask and air dried in an oven at 65 °C for 24 h. After that, the sample was fully dried at the A.N. Calzetta Resio et al. / Journal of Food Engineering 60 (2003) 391–396 same temperature in a vacuum oven until constant weight, in presence of P2 O5 as desiccant. The percent of total solids was referred to the weight of fully dried kernels. 3. Results and discussion In order to predict water absorption during soaking, the second FickÕs law solution for diﬀusion out of sphere was tested. For this purpose the following assumptions were made: (i) the eﬀective diﬀusion coeﬃcient, De , is independent of moisture concentration; (ii) the volume of the grain does not change during absorption, (iii) the surface of the grain reaches moisture saturation instantaneously upon immersion in absorption media. Based on these considerations, the solution of FickÕs second law (Cussler, 1984) was used to calculate diﬀusivity constants: 1 w w1 6 X 1 De n2 p2 t ¼ 2 exp ð2Þ R2 w0 w1 p n¼1 n2 Where w is the moisture content at a given time t, w0 the initial moisture content, w1 the saturation moisture concentration, and R the average radius of amaranth grain. To evaluate w1 the following method was used; when time becomes large, the limiting form of Eq. (2) becomes: w w1 6 De p2 t ¼ exp 2 ð3Þ R w0 w1 p2 From this equation it results that for any set of three moisture contents taken at equally spaced time intervals of duration j, the following expression for w1 results: w1 ¼ wi wiþ2j w2iþj wi þ wiþ2j 2wiþj 393 uration moisture concentration calculated from Eq. (4). The maximum relative error in saturation values was 2.5% while the corresponding to De was almost 4.2%. The predicted water absorption curves of amaranth in plain water are shown in Fig. 1 together with the experimental data for the four soaking temperatures tested. The moisture content of amaranth grains increased rapidly during the initial stages of hydration. This may be due to characteristics of structure of the outermost layers; i.e. the seed coat and pericarp, which being relatively porous appear to quickly attain equilibrium with the soaking water by capillary imbibition (Becker, 1960). Another signiﬁcant factor that contributes to the rapid initial water absorption may be the moisture absorbed in the void space between the husk and the kernel of the grain. The major discrepancies between experimental and predicted curves are evident at the highest moisture concentrations, because hydration occurs at much higher rate than predicted by Eq. (2). Such inadequacy, also observed by some investigators during water absorption process in grains and seeds (Abdel Kader, 1995; Hsu, 1983; Sopade & Obepka, 1990), might be attributed to certain dependence of the diﬀusion coeﬃcient on moisture concentration.The comparison of the diﬀusion coeﬃcients for water steeping obtained in this work for amaranth grain with those reported in the literature for other grains is shown in Table 3. It can be concluded that amaranth grain had diﬀusion coeﬃcients only comparable to that of maize grain. In order to evaluate the goodness of the ﬁt of Eq. (2) to the experimental water absorption, the root mean square error, RMSE, deﬁned as: vﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ u 2 N u1 X we wp RMSE ð%Þ ¼ 100 t ð5Þ N 1 we ð4Þ wi and wj being the moisture concentrations at time i and j. Eq. (2) was used to estimate the eﬀective diﬀusion coeﬃcient during water absorption of amaranth grain in plain water by programming this equation on a digital computer. A non-linear regression procedure was used to calculate De ; diﬀusivity determinations were replicated three times. The average value of these replications is given in Table 2 together with the values of the sat- was calculated where we and wp are, respectively, the experimental and predicted moisture concentrations and N the number of experimental data. The values of RMSE (%) are reported in Table 2. If values of RMSE (%) less than 5% are generally considered as a good ﬁt (Lomauro, Bakshi, & Labuza, 1985), the relative high value of this parameter indicates some degree of inadequacy of the model to describe the absorption process as a whole. Table 2 Saturation moisture contents, w1 , eﬀective diﬀusion coeﬃcient, De , and RMSE (%) values for water absorption of amaranth grain in plain water Temperature (°C) w1 (kg water/kg dry solid)a De 1012 (m2 /s)b RMSE (%) 30 40 50 60 0.715 0.015 0.810 0.013 0.889 0.017 0.96 0.020 2.63 0.11 3.84 0.08 5.81 0.21 8.25 0.10 4.91 3.89 5.15 6.01 a b Mean values standard deviation (n ¼ 5). Signiﬁcant at P < 0:05. Mean values standard deviation (n ¼ 22). Signiﬁcant at P < 0:05. 394 A.N. Calzetta Resio et al. / Journal of Food Engineering 60 (2003) 391–396 for the diﬀerent grains. For example, Becker (1960) found for wheat that the saturation values resulted practically independent of the soaking temperature and equal to a moisture concentration of 75% in dry basis. A similar trend was found by Haros et al. (1995) during the steeping of maize in aqueous solution of sulfur dioxide, with a saturation value of 79% for soaking temperatures ranging from 45 to 65 °C. At this point of the analysis it may be interesting to compare the activation energy resulting from the variation of the saturation moisture concentration with temperature, with the value of Ea obtained from the diﬀusive process. The activation energy for variation of the saturation moisture content with temperature was calculated to be 6.71 kJ mol1 . The comparison with the value of the diﬀusive process (32.1 kJ mol1 ) reveals a substantial diﬀerence between these values. This diﬀerence might suggest that soaking at higher steeping temperatures will aﬀect the diﬀusion coeﬃcient in the endosperm somewhat diﬀerently than in the seed coat. Considering that the seed coat is moisture saturated since the beginning of the absorption process, less variation can be expected for the value of the diﬀusion coeﬃcient as temperature increases. Fig. 1. Water absorption rates for amaranth grain in plain water. (M) 30 °C; (}) 40 °C; () 50 °C; (j) 60 °C; Eq. (2), full line. The diﬀusion coeﬃcients reported in Table 2 were correlated with the reciprocal of the absolute temperature, according to the Arrhenius type equation De ¼ D0 expðEa =RT Þ 3.1. Eﬀect of SO2 on the absorption rate The eﬀect of SO2 on the rate of water absorption compared with plain water is illustrated in Fig. 2 for the soaking temperature of 40 °C (similar eﬀects not depicted in this ﬁgure were found at 60 °C). As can be seen from this ﬁgure, the diﬀerence in moisture increase between amaranth grains soaked in plain water and aqueous SO2 solution was not very marked, though signiﬁcant. The eﬀective diﬀusion coeﬃcient of water into the kernel obtained for absorption in plain water at 40 °C was 3.84 1012 m2 s1 , while for SO2 (0.01%, v/v) was of 4.30 1012 m2 s1 for the same temperature. On the contrary, the variation of SO2 concentration in the soaking media did not cause a signiﬁcant variation on the absorption rate: the diﬀusion coeﬃcients at 0.01% and 0.03%, v/v, SO2 were, respectively, 4.30 1012 and 4.19 1012 m2 /s. ð6Þ where Ea is the activation energy, R the gas constant and T the absolute temperature. The value of Ea was calculated by linear regression of ln De versus 1=T being its value 32.1 kJ mol1 . This value is comparable to those reported in the literature for water absorption in some grains. So, Engels et al. (1986) found Ea values ranging from 22.5 to 64.51 kJ mol1 , depending on the moisture concentration of rice grain, while Haros et al. (1995) reported an energy value of 39.41 kJ mol1 for water absorption in corn activation. It is also observed from Table 2 that the saturation moisture content increases as the soaking temperature is also increased. Such behavior is not apparently the same Table 3 Diﬀusion coeﬃcients for steeping in plain water of amaranth grain compared with other grains Material Maize Wheat Rough rice Soybean Amaranth Temperature range (°C) De (m2 /s) 11 52 40 40 4.86 10 3.63 1011 6.67 109 50 40 60 40 60 9.03 109 1.08 1010 2.00 1010 3.84 1012 8.25 1012 Reference Haros et al. (1995) Becker (1960) Engels, Hendrickx, De Samblanx, De Gryze, and Tobback (1986) Hsu (1983) This work A.N. Calzetta Resio et al. / Journal of Food Engineering 60 (2003) 391–396 395 corn steeping and attributed to the reduction of disulﬁde bonds of corn proteins by SO2 . 3.2. Eﬀect of lactic acid on water absorption Fig. 2. Water absorption rates for amaranth grain in plain water (}) and SO2 solutions: (þ) 0.01% (v/v) and () 0.03% (v/v) at 40 °C. The eﬀect of SO2 on the variation of total solids in the steeping water, with time is shown in Fig. 3. It can be seen that the amount of solids released in the SO2 solution after a short induction period was considerably higher than in plain water, being this eﬀect more marked with the increase of soaking time. Such diﬀerence could be due to the soluble action of SO2 on the endosperm proteins of amaranth grain. A similar behavior was observed by Neuman, Wall, and Walker (1984) during The water absorption curves of amaranth in aqueous solution of 0.02%, v/v, SO2 and variable concentrations of lactic acid: 0.0025% and 0.005% (v/v) are shown in Fig. 4. The beneﬁcial eﬀect of lactic acid on water absorption rate became signiﬁcant at concentrations of 0.0025% (v/v) being the diﬀusion coeﬃcient 4.69 1012 m2 s1 , for the soaking temperature of 40 °C. However, this eﬀect did not seem to increase when the concentration of lactic acid is twofold. The estimated diﬀusion coeﬃcient at 40 °C for SO2 0.02% (v/v), combined with lactic acid, 0.005% (v/v), was 4.73 1012 m2 s1 . The eﬀect of lactic acid on grain steeping is not well understood and the results available in the literature on water absorption rates are scarce and contradictory. For corn, Shandera, Packhurst, and Jackson (1995) found that the water absorption rate increased when lactic acid was added to the steeping media, whereas Haros and Suarez (1999) observed that the incorporation of lactic acid into the steeping solution slightly aﬀected the rate of water absorption of that grain. The variation of total solids leached in steep water with time is illustrated in Fig. 3. A marked increase is observed in the amount of solids leached on adding lactic acid, compared to that found during soaking in plain water or in SO2 solution. This may be due to the softening action of lactic acid, which increases the porosity of cellular membranes, enhancing in turn, the 6 total solids (g/g dry grain) 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 50 100 150 200 250 time (min) Fig. 3. Variation with time of total solids leached at 40 °C in: plain water (M); 0.02% v/v, SO2 solution (); 0.02% v/v, SO2 solution + 0.005% v/v, lactic acid (). Fig. 4. Water absorption curves at 40 °C of amaranth grain in 0.02% v/v, SO2 with 0.0025% v/v, lactic acid (M) and 0.005% v/v, lactic acid (). 396 A.N. Calzetta Resio et al. / Journal of Food Engineering 60 (2003) 391–396 dissolving action of SO2 on the proteinaceous matrix that which binds the starch granules. Acknowledgements We acknowledge the ﬁnancial support from Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientiﬁcas y Tecnicas (CONICET) and Universidad de Buenos Aires. 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