The complex and highly interconnected intercellular air spaces of plant tissues occupied by gas or native liquid has offered the possibility for impregnation with a wide range of compounds. In food processing, the development of vacuum impregnation has allowed a controlled way to introduce these compounds to the tissue structure aiming at modifying structural, nutritional, and/or functional properties as well as improving the processability of fruits and vegetables. In the last 10 years, more than 100 research articles have been published on the topic and significant insights had been gained including improved understanding of mechanisms for mass transfer as well as the development of new, fascinating industrial applications. In the recent years, our knowledge on these aspects has increased by bringing new exploration technologies for studying the impregnation of porous materials and plant cell physiology approaches to bear on the topic. The aim of this paper is to highlight some of these exciting advances.
Keywords: GASMAS; X-ray tomography; mass transfer; metabolic consequences.
© 2014 Society of Chemical Industry.