RESULTS: The relationship between dimensionless moisture content and shrinkage of sweet potato in terms of volume, surface area, perimeter and illuminated area was found to be linearly correlated. The results also demonstrated that the shrinkage of sweet potato based on computer vision and backscattered optical parameters is affected by the product thickness, drying temperature and drying time. A multilayer perceptron (MLP) artificial neural network with input layer containing three cells, two hidden layers (18 neurons), and five cells for output layer, was used to develop a model that can monitor, control and predict the shrinkage parameters and moisture content of sweet potato slices under different drying conditions. The developed ANN model satisfactorily predicted the shrinkage and dimensionless moisture content of sweet potato with correlation coefficient greater than 0.95.
CONCLUSION: Combined computer vision, laser light backscattering imaging and artificial neural network can be used as a non-destructive, rapid and easily adaptable technique for in-line monitoring, predicting and controlling the shrinkage and moisture changes of food and agricultural crops during drying. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry.