An Innovative Drying Technology
Drying Beads are our patented drying technology specifically designed for the agriculture industry. Utilizing a novel desiccant technology, the Drying Beads provide a safe, efficient and affordable solution to the problem of seed and commodity drying across the globe.
To prevent damage from bacteria, fungi and insects, commodities need to be dried to low moisture levels prior to storage and transportation. The problem is that in many areas the local operators lack the necessary drying and storage equipment to achieve this goal. This problem is compounded by the fact that harvests often occur during the rainy season, where high temperatures and humidity cause commodities to deteriorate rapidly.
The Drying Beads solve this problem by providing a solution that is independent of infrastructural and environmental conditions. Using the Drying Beads, one can now safely dry their commodities to as low as 1% moisture content within 72 hours.
High Humidity Is the Enemy
The moisture content of commodities equilibrate to the ambient relative humidity (RH) of the air to which they are exposed. Bacteria and fungi depend on water to grow, but cannot do so below 65% RH. Meanwhile, insects are unable to survive below 35% RH. Therefore, we recommend that producers dry below 35% RH in order to circumvent both of these common issues, something that is hard to do using traditional drying techniques.
In regions with humid climates, heated-air drying is also extremely inefficient and the high temperatures required to remove the moisture from the air can often result in drying-related oxidation or polymerization, ultimately reducing the overall quality. As you can see in the adjacent table, when implemented into traditional commercial drying processes, Drying Beads can increase drying kinetics, reduce the required temperatures, and lower drying times by up to 30%.
The Effect of Drying Beads on Drying Kinetics
The Importance of Low Seed Moisture Content
Low seed moisture content has been proven to maximize seed viability and shelf life. For every 1% decrease in seed moisture content or 6ºC decrease in storage temperature, the storage life of a seed is doubled. Unfortunately, traditional drying techniques such as sun or solar drying are often inadequate at achieving these low moisture levels as they are dependent upon environmental conditions. Heated-air drying may also not be available and/or warranted for high-value seeds such as vegetable seeds. Drying Beads solve these problems by providing a powerful solution to dry seeds to to as low as 1% MC regardless of infrastructure or environmental conditions.
Low Moisture Content x Energy Savings
There is a belief that seeds should be stored under refrigeration to maintain quality. While this is true for long-term storage in genebanks, our research has proven that if seeds are dried to low moisture contents and then hermetically packaged, they can be stored under ambient conditions for up to 2 years without any significant loss in quality or viability. This also leads to substantial energy savings and risk mitigation.
Precision Seed Drying
Seeds are living things and just like humans they all have unique characteristics that make them who they are. That means that seeds should also dried according to their specific genetic makeup. Recognizing this fact, our team developed a drying calculator that when used in conjunction with the Drying Beads, allows a user to dry their seeds to precise moisture levels. This takes the guesswork out of drying and assures that seeds are within the optimal range for storage and distribution. Reach out to us for more information on the Drying Beads Calculator.
Food and Spice Industry
Delicate Drying Is Key
The Drying Beads can add value to many aspects of the food and spice industries. For one, spices and herbs oftentimes need to be dried for culinary use. The problem is that traditional heated-air drying can reduce favorable characteristics such as color, volatiles, nutritional value and flavor. These favorable traits are not affected with the Drying Beads because they specifically absorb water molecules, leaving the other molecules intact. Drying Beads also allow users to employ lower drying temperatures, allowing for a more delicate drying process.
Drying and dehydration is one of the most energy-intensive processes employed within the entire U.S. food processing industry. In fact, these processes account for 15% of the entire energy expenditures within the U.S. fruit and vegetable industry. In one way, the Drying Beads lower energy expenditures by intensifying drying kinetics and removing more water from the air than otherwise possible.
Why Drying Beads?
Drying Beads Versus Silica Gel
At Low Humidity Levels
Drying Beads are more powerful than any other desiccant employed within the agriculture industry, including the popular desiccant, silica gel. While silica gel is efficient in the mid ranges of RH and temperature, it becomes extremely inefficient below 40% RH and will take an extended period of time before reaching its lowest possible drying point of 30% RH. This is right on the threshold of adequate drying parameters, and is not low enough for most seeds that generally need to be dried to 10-25% RH. Meanwhile, Drying Beads excel in the lower humidity ranges and can lower the RH to 1% in most cases. In fact, they can hold 4x as much water as silica gel at 10% RH and 2x as much at 20% RH.
Life-span of Drying Beads Versus Silica Gel
One of the main differences between Drying Beads and silica gel originates in their pore structures. Silica gel has an amorphous micro-porous structure, with a distribution of pore opening sizes of roughly 3-60 angstroms. The result of this lack of uniformity in pore sizes is that silica gel will tend to absorb other unwanted molecules such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Meanwhile, Drying Beads have a uniform network of crystalline pores and empty adsorption cavities that are specific to water molecules. This means that the Drying Beads will not absorb any other molecules during the drying process. This ensures that favorable traits are not lost during the drying process. However, the VOCs in which the silica gel will absorb also clog their pores, resulting in a loss of water-holding capacity over time and less effective drying. The Drying Beads will completely desorb all of the water molecules within their pore structure during the reactivation process, which allows them to be used over a long period of time without losing any viability.
Dry Chain America
We provide unique, climate-smart drying, storage, and monitoring solutions combined with the training and support our customers need in order to reduce postharvest losses and obtain higher quality seeds and grains. Our team includes seed industry professionals in the Unites States, Europe, and Asia, which grants us the ability to understand the challenges organizations are faced with across the globe and how to best address them.
Address: 1725 Skyway Drive, Longmont, CO, United States
Phone: +1 815-742-3726