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Cereal Chem 69:600-606   |  VIEW ARTICLE

Simultaneous and Nondestructive Measurement of Transient Moisture Profiles and Structural Changes in Corn Kernels During Steeping Using Microscopic Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

R. Ruan, J. B. Litchfield, and S. R. Eckhoff. Copyright 1992 by the American Association of Cereal Chemists, Inc. 

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of corn kernels during steeping was used to determine the internal three-dimensional transient moisture profiles. The following variables were tested: kernels with and without pericarp damage, kernels dried at high and low temperatures, kernels with high and low initial moisture contents, steepwater with and without lactic acid, and high and low steeping temperatures. The path of moisture flow into the kernel was found to follow the traditional path (into the tin cap, through the cross and tube cells, and into the endosperm), but a second major pathway through the germ and into the interior of the endosperm was confirmed. The results illustrate how MRI can be used to better understand mass transfer phenomena during steeping, including rates and paths of moisture transfer, factors influencing the moisture distribution, and major barriers to moisture transfer into the corn kernel. The results also indicate that MRI can provide insight concerning stress crack development and concomitant structrual changes.

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