Background and Objectives: Thermal processing is an effective method in preventing microbial spoilage but high heat transfer in a long time process that leads to quality loss and increased energy consumption. Also it is important to consider sensitive nature of food products during the thermal processing. Due to the nano-fluids' unique thermo–physical properties compared with the conventional fluids (steam and hot water), their use in various industries to enhance the efficiency of equipment and energy optimization has increased.
Materials and Methods: The effects of alumina–water nano-fluids (0, 2, and 4% concentrations) on some nutritional properties (lycopene and vitamin C content), and some physical properties (color, pH and TSS) of watermelon juice treated by high temperature–short time (75, 80, and 85°C for 15, 30, and 45 seconds) in a shell and tube heat exchanger were evaluated.
Results: In compared with water, process time reduced by 24.88% and 51.63% for 2% and 4% nano-fluids, respectively. It had a significant effect on improving the properties of watermelon juice (P<0.05). Under the treatment conditions (75°C and 15s), with 0, 2, and 4% nano-fluids, 81.15, 84.81, and 91.28% of lycopene and 61.11, 63.70 and 67.04% of vitamin C were maintained, respectively. &DeltaE* values for the fruit juices processed with 0, 2 and 4% nano-fluids were 3.26, 2.21 and 1.14, respectively. Also pH and TSS changed in the range of 5.58–5.82 and 9.00–9.40%, respectively.
Conclusions: The results showed that qualitative and nutritional properties of watermelon juices processed with nano-fluids in terms of lycopene and vitamin C retention, and color were, respectively, 9.89, 6.18 and 50.38% better than the samples processed with water.