The drying process of pasta plays a crucial role in assuring its final quality, since the operational conditions of this process may imply thermal and mechanical damage that also affect final product yield. In this work, independent analyses on furosine, carbohydrates, and color indices (red, yellow, and lightness) have been conducted on pasta samples produced by an Italian pasta factory in order to correlate the examined parameters with pasta drying process. The investigation has been focused on pasta samples having different shapes in order to evaluate how the considered parameters are affected by the specific thermal process scheduled for each pasta format. The same analyses were also performed on semolina used for each pasta sample production, with the aim of verifying whether furosine amount, color indices, and maltulose change in relationship with Maillard reaction (MR) occurring during the drying process. Maltulose presence has been evaluated in semolina for the first time. In addition, the study has been extended to commercial pasta samples of different qualities; a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) has also been conducted to combine together all observed data with the aim of proposing an overall quality index. Finally, a statistical model based on chemical and color parameters as independent variables was successfully developed (R 2 = 0.990) by means of a multiple linear regression (MLR) analysis to predict commercial pasta cook values and drying cycles as consequences.
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