A nonlinear predictive control technique is developed to determine the optimal drying profile for a drying process. A complete nonlinear model of the baker's yeast drying process is used for predicting the future control actions. To minimize the difference between the model predictions and the desired trajectory throughout finite horizon, an objective function is described. The optimization problem is solved using a genetic algorithm due to the successful overconventional optimization techniques in the applications of the complex optimization problems. The control scheme comprises a drying process, a nonlinear prediction model, an optimizer, and a genetic search block. The nonlinear predictive control method proposed in this paper is applied to the baker's yeast drying process. The results show significant enhancement of the manufacturing quality-considerable decrease of the energy consumption and drying time, obtained by the proposed nonlinear predictive control. (c) 2006 ISA-The Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society.