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Water Activity in Foods: Fundamentals and Applications

ISBN: 978-0-8138-2408-6
440 pages
October 2007, Wiley-Blackwell
Water Activity in Foods: Fundamentals and Applications (0813824087) cover image
Water Activity in Foods: Fundamentals and Applications is a one-of-a-kind reference text that brings together an international group of food scientists, chemists, and engineers to present a broad but thorough coverage of an important factor known to influence the attributes of foods – water activity. A team of experienced editors designed this book for lasting value as a sound introduction to the concept of water activity for neophytes and seasoned professionals in both academe and industry. Topics have been carefully selected to provide a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms by which water activity influences the quality, shelf life, and safety of food products. Other approaches for studying water relations in foods are also discussed including the polymer science approach and water mobility by nuclear magnetic resonance. Concepts in the practical uses and applications of water activity for food formulation, processing, and storage are generously illustrated with practical examples from the food industry that will facilitate later application by professionals in their own laboratories and production facilities.

Progressing from the scientific to the practical, the book examines the fundamentals and relationships of water activity, ranging from glass transition theory and the measurement of moisture content, water activity, and isotherms, to ways in which water activity affects microorganisms, chemical reaction rates and physical properties, to moisture gain and loss through packaging, water activity as a hurdle, and applications of water activity management in the food industry and non-food systems.

Water Activity in Foods belongs on the shelves of all food science professionals for use in product development, quality control, and food safety. Students and newcomers to these areas will appreciate the instructional approach adopted by the experienced teachers and industry specialists who have contributed chapters to this comprehensive overview.

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1. Introduction – Historical Highlights of Water Activity Research.

Jorge Chirife and Anthony J. Fontana, Jr.

2. Water Activity – Fundamentals and Relationships.

David S. Reid.

3. Water Activity and Glass Transition.

Yrjö H. Roos.

4. Water Mobility in Foods.

Shelly J. Schmidt.

5. Water Activity Prediction and Moisture Sorption Isotherms.

T.P. Labuza and B. Altunakar.

6. Measurement of Water Activity, Moisture Sorption Isotherms, and Moisture Content of Foods.

Anthony J. Fontana, Jr.

7. Moisture Effects on Food Chemical Stability.

Leonard N. Bell.

8. Water Activity and Physical Stability.

Gaëlle Roudaut.

9. Diffusion and Sorption Kinetics of Water in Foods.

T.P. Labuza and B. Altunakar.

10. Effects of Water Activity on Microbial Stability – as a Hurdle in Food Preservation.

María S. Tapia, Stella M. Alzamora, and Jorge Chirife.

11. Principles of Intermediate-Moisture Foods and Related Technology.

Petros S. Taoukis and Michelle Richardson.

12. Desorption Phenomena in Food Dehydration Processes.

G.V. Barbosa-Canovas and P. Juliano.

13. Applications of Water Activity Management in the Food Industry.

Jorge Welti-Chanes, Emmy Pérez, José Angel Guerrero-Beltrán, Stella M. Alzamora, and Fidel Vergara-Balderas.

14. Applications of Water Activity in Non-Food Systems.

Anthony J. Fontana, Jr. and Gaylon S. Campbell.

15. The Future of Water Activity in Food Processing and Preservation.

Cynthia M. Stewart, Ken A. Buckle, and Martin B. Cole.

Appendix A: Water Activity of Saturated Salt Solutions.

Appendix B: Water Activity of Unsaturated Salt Solutions at 25°C.

Appendix C: Water Activity and Isotherm Equations.

Appendix D: Minimum Water Activity Limits for Growth of Microorganisms.

Appendix E: Water Activity Values of Selected Food Ingredients and Products.

Appendix F: Water Activity Values of Select Consumer and Pharmaceutical Products.


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Gustavo V. Barbosa-Cánovas, Ph.D., Professor of Food Engineering, Center for Nonthermal Processing of Food, Washington State University, Pullman, WA

Anthony J. Fontana, Jr., Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, Decagon Devices, Inc., Pullman, WA

Shelly J. Schmidt, Ph.D., Professor of Food Chemistry, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL

Theodore P. Labuza, Ph.D., Morse Alumni Distinguished Professor of Food Science and Engineering; Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN

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● One-of-a-kind reference text that brings together the research in water activity of international food scientists, chemists and engineers
● How water activity influences the quality, shelf-life and safety of food products
● Discusses concepts in the practical use of water activity for food formulation, processing and storage
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