Start Date: Sep 26, 2009
End Date: Mar 25, 2010
This research will be conducted over a five year period and will consist of laboratory and prototype scale testing. During year 1, runner type peanuts will be dried from various initial moisture contents to a final moisture content of approximately 11% using four levels of incident radiant energy in a laboratory scale catalytic infrared dehydrator. In-shell peanuts will be harvested and divided into five samples approximately 20 kg each. The initial moisture content of each of the samples will be determined using the oven method (ASAE S410.1). As a control, one sample will be dried using conventional forced air curing systems that heat the air 8C above ambient but no higher than 35C. The remaining samples will be dried using four different incident energy levels while recording pod surface temperature. Moisture content will be determined during drying by monitoring the sample mass. Drying will be terminated when the desired mass loss has occurred. The test will be repeated throughout the peanut harvest season, using peanuts with initial moisture contents ranging from 20 to 13%. Each sample will be shelled using a model sheller and kernels separated into commercial sizes to determine milling quality. The shelled peanuts will be subdivided into smaller samples to determine the vigor index, single kernel moisture distribution, and the presence/absence of off flavors. The single kernel moisture distribution will be measured using a Shizouka Seiki CTR-160P.Data will be analyzed using incident energy levels as drying treatments and tests replicated throughout the peanut harvest. The effect of the incident radiant energy on peanut drying time, milling quality, seed germination and vigor, and the incidence of off-flavors will be determined using analysis of variance.