Water transport in starchy foods: Experimental and mathematical aspects

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: The availability and movement of water inside the food materials play essential roles for food stability by affecting their physical and chemical properties, and microbiological activity. Understanding the moisture sorption behavior is a necessary step to control food properties. Food processing unit operations like drying and cooking influence the behavior of starch since such systems trigger swelling or shrinkage as a result of moisture sorption or desorption mechanisms. Also, these processes alter many aspects of starch-containing foods such as acceptability, nutritional value, quality, and shelf-life. Scope and approach: Therefore, understanding the water transport in starchy foods and the changes occurring in functional properties of starch has a great importance to describe and model their sorption and drying behavior. First, the primary mechanisms occurring during water transport such as moisture sorption, swelling, gelatinization, and glass transition are discussed using experimental results presented in the literature. Additionally, the hybrid mixture theory (HMT) and its potential for predicting transport mechanisms in starchy foods is discussed. Key findings and conclusions: In addition to experimental considerations, the mathematical modeling provides complementary information to predict the heat and fluid transfer. The hybrid mixture theory based multiscale models are able to describe the physico-chemical changes and general transport mechanisms occurring within a porous food matrix. This theory can also be used to predict the quality changes in food products during processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-24
Number of pages14
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Gelatinization
  • Glass transition
  • Modeling
  • Moisture sorption
  • Non-Fickian
  • Swelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science


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