Comparisons of the use of desiccators with or without vacuum for water sorption and glass transition studies

T. J. Laaksonen, Y. H. Roos, T. P. Labuza

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18 Scopus citations


Water sorption properties of food solids are often determined gravimetrically using samples stored over various salt solutions. In such studies desiccators with or without vacuum can be used. However, the apparent equilibrium water contents may differ depending on the technique used. The objectives of the present study were to investigate the resultant isotherms when desiccators with or without vacuum were used for freeze-dried wheat dough, gluten, denatured gluten, native, and gelatinized starch and to determine the glass transition temperatures for gluten, denatured gluten, and gelatinized starch using Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). Using vacuum desiccators, all five materials were dehydrated over P2O5 until a constant weight was achieved. Using desiccators without vacuum, gluten and native starch were dried in vacuum for 3 days at 30°C. Triplicate samples were rehumidified in desiccators with or without vacuum over salt solutions ranging from aw 0.113 to 0.843 at 24-25°C. The BET and GAB sorption isotherm models were fitted to two water sorption data. Equilibrium water contents were achieved after 2-3 days of storage using vacuum desiccators, while equilibrium time was 2-3 weeks using desiccators without vacuum over the whole range of relative humidity (RH) for all materials. The GAB sorption isotherm for all materials showed clearly that water contents were higher at the high water activities (> 0.6) and lower at the low water activities (< 0.4) using vacuum desiccators, because of a probable difference in humidity between the external atmosphere and inside the desiccators with or without vacuum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-563
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Food Properties
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study has been carried out with financial support from the Finnish Food Research Foundation, the Foundation of Tiura, and the Commission of the European Communities, Agriculture and Fisheries (FAIR) specific RTD program CT9773609, Use of Wheat Water-Extractable Arabinoxylans (WEA) to Improv e Stability of Frozen Doughs and Quality of Bread. The study does not necessarily reflect the Commission’s views and in no way anticipates the Commission’s future policy in this area. The flour and flour analysis were kindly provided by Professor Jan Delcour, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium.


  • Desiccator
  • Sorption
  • Water content


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