• Title, Summary, Keyword: Postharvest Grain Losses

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Finite Element Prediction of Temperature Distribution in a Solar Grain Dryer

  • Uluko, H.;Mailutha, J.T.;Kanali, C.L.;Shitanda, D.;Murase, H
    • Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
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    • v.7 no.1
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    • pp.1-7
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    • 2006
  • A need exists to monitor and control the localized high temperatures often experienced in solar grain dryers, which result in grain cracking, reduced germination and loss of cooking quality. A verified finite element model would be a useful to monitor and control the drying process. This study examined the feasibility of the finite element method (FEM) to predict temperature distribution in solar grain dryers. To achieve this, an indirect solar grain dryer system was developed. It consisted of a solar collector, plenum and drying chambers, and an electric fan. The system was used to acquire the necessary input and output data for the finite element model. The input data comprised ambient and plenum chamber temperatures, prevailing wind velocities, thermal conductivities of air, grain and dryer wall, and node locations in the xy-plane. The outputs were temperature at the different nodes, and these were compared with measured values. The ${\pm}5%$ residual error interval employed in the analysis yielded an overall prediction performance level of 83.3% for temperature distribution in the dryer. Satisfactory prediction levels were also attained for the lateral (61.5-96.2%) and vertical (73.1-92.3%) directions of grain drying. These results demonstrate that it is feasible to use a two-dimensional (2-D) finite element model to predict temperature distribution in a grain solar dryer. Consequently, the method offers considerable advantage over experimental approaches as it reduces time requirements and the need for expensive measuring equipment, and it also yields relatively accurate results.

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Influence of Temperature and Water Activity on Deleterious Fungi and Mycotoxin Production during Grain Storage

  • Mannaa, Mohamed;Kim, Ki Deok
    • Mycobiology
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    • v.45 no.4
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    • pp.240-254
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    • 2017
  • Cereal grains are the most important food source for humans. As the global population continues to grow exponentially, the need for the enhanced yield and minimal loss of agricultural crops, mainly cereal grains, is increasing. In general, harvested grains are stored for specific time periods to guarantee their continuous supply throughout the year. During storage, economic losses due to reduction in quality and quantity of grains can become very significant. Grain loss is usually the result of its deterioration due to fungal contamination that can occur from preharvest to postharvest stages. The deleterious fungi can be classified based on predominance at different stages of crop growth and harvest that are affected by environmental factors such as water activity ($a_w$) and eco-physiological requirements. These fungi include species such as those belonging to the genera Aspergillus and Penicillium that can produce mycotoxins harmful to animals and humans. The grain type and condition, environment, and biological factors can also influence the occurrence and predominance of mycotoxigenic fungi in stored grains. The main environmental factors influencing grain fungi and mycotoxins are temperature and $a_w$. This review discusses the effects of temperature and $a_w$ on fungal growth and mycotoxin production in stored grains. The focus is on the occurrence and optimum and minimum growth requirements for grain fungi and mycotoxin production. The environmental influence on aflatoxin production and hypothesized mechanisms of its molecular suppression in response to environmental changes are also discussed. In addition, the use of controlled or modified atmosphere as an environmentally safe alternative to harmful agricultural chemicals is discussed and recommended future research issues are highlighted.