Water sorption of gluten and wheat starch films as a function of water activity was studied using gravimetric step-change sorption experiments. Films of different thicknesses were used with the aim to vary the characteristic diffusion time and to get insights in the contribution of the polymer-chain rearrangement in the sorption behaviour. It is shown that both starch and gluten are in the glassy state for a water activity aw below 0.9. From comparison of the dynamical sorption curves with a Fickian diffusion model, it is shown that water diffusion in gluten films seems Fickian for aw <0.7, and non-Fickian for aw > 0.7, while for starch films, non-Fickian sorption behaviour is observed for aw > 0.1. The results show that polymer-chain rearrangement and the stress built up in the matrix play an important role in the sorption dynamics of these films. Even when the material is in the glassy state matrix relaxation phenomena play a role in the sorption behaviour of starch and gluten.
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