This study concerns the implementation of osmotic dehydration (OD) as a pre-treatment of air-drying in fig halves, aiming at drying acceleration, energy savings and product quality improvement. The effect of solid/liquid mass ratio, process temperature (25-45°C) and duration (up to 300 min) on water activity (aw) and transport phenomena during OD, was modelled. The effective diffusion coefficients, drying time and energy consumption, were also calculated during air-drying at 50-70°C. At optimum OD conditions (90 min, 45°C), the highest water loss and solid gain ratio were achieved, while the aw (equal to an initial value 0.986) was decreased to 0.929. Air-drying time of OD-and control samples was estimated at 12 and 21 h, at 60°C, respectively, decreasing the required energy by up to 31.1%. Quality of dried figs was systematically monitored during storage. OD-assisted air-drying led to a product of improved quality and extended shelf-life. © 2021 by...

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