Moisture desorption isotherms of cucumber seeds: modeling and thermodynamic properties

Hygroscopic equilibrium curves or sorption isotherms are important in order to define dehydration limits of the product, estimate moisture content alterations under environment conditions and to acquire moisture content values for safe storage. This work aimed to determine desorption isotherms of cucumber seeds stored at different temperature (10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 ºC) and relative humidity (0.11 to 0.96) and the thermodynamic properties of this process. Mathematical models were fitted to experimental data in order to represent the agricultural products hygroscopicity. Net isosteric heat of desorption was performed based on the Clausius-Clapeyron thermodynamic relation and Gibbs free energy through the Van't Hoff equation. Based on statistical parameters, Modified Henderson model was the one that best represented hygroscopicity of cucumber seeds. Equilibrium moisture content of cucumber seeds decreased with temperature increment at a constant value of relative humidity. Differential enthalpy values, representing the energy required to remove moisture from the cucumber seeds, ranged from 2923 to 2469 kJ. kg-1. Values of differential entropy and Gibbs free energy decreased with moisture content increase. Enthalpy-entropy compensation theory is valid for the sorption of cucumber seeds, in which the water sorption mechanism in cucumber seeds can be considered to be enthalpy controlled.