Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Process Engineering, Biotechnology, Nutrition Technology
Abstract Survival of alginate-entrapped cells of Azospirillum lipoferum was studied during dehydration using a dry air stream and during prolonged storage at various constant water activity values (aw). During the drying operation, the viability loss remained almost constant from the initial water content to 0.35 g water/g dry weight (DW) corresponding to a 98.5% water removal, strongly increased until a water content of 0.25 g/g DW and then stopped until the end of the drying operational (final aw 0.18). A water content of 0.25 g/g DW (aw=0.55) corresponded to the critical point of the moisture sorption isotherm curve from which water became restricted to the dry material. A high drying rate (5 g/g DW per hour) was shown to be more detrimental for cell viability than a low drying rate (1.18 g/g DW per hour). When the product was stored in a closed chamber with a regulated aw (0.23), the number of living cells decreased during a short period (less than 15 days) corresponding to the product aw stabilization, and then remained constant for more than 150 days. In addition, cell survival during storage was not affected by aw values in the range 0–0.55. Above aw=0.55, the higher the aw and the storage duration, the lower the residual survival percentage. The influence of the drying and storage conditions on the cell death rate are discussed with regard to both the mechanisms generally involved in viability loss and the hydration properties of water.
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