Alterations in fruit and vegetable beta-carotene and vitamin C content caused by open-sun drying, visqueen-covered and polyethylene-covered solar-dryers

Afr Health Sci. 2004 Aug;4(2):125-30.

Abstract

This study investigated the effects of three drying methods (open sun drying, visqueen-covered solar dryer and polyethylene-covered solar dryer) on b-carotene and vitamin C content of edible portions of mango fruit (Mangifera indica) and cowpea leaves (Vigna unguiculata). Commercial samples were analysed for vitamin C by titrimetry and b-carotene by spectrophotometry at 450 nm. Differences in vitamin retention and loss associated with the three drying methods were assessed by analysis of variance and least significant difference (LSD) at (p<0.05. The fresh cowpea leaf b-carotene and vitamin C content was 140.9 and 164.3 mg / 100g DM respectively and decreased (p<0.05) with drying. Open sun drying method caused the greatest b-carotene and vitamin C loss (58% and 84% respectively), while the visqueen-covered solar dryer caused the least loss (34.5% and 71% respectively). Blanching cowpea leaves improved b-carotene and vitamin C retention by 15% and 7.5% respectively. The b-carotene and vitamin C content of fresh ripe mango fruit was 5.9 and 164.3 mg/100g DM respectively. Similar to effects on cowpea leaves, the mango micronutrient content decreased (p<0.05) with drying. The open sun drying method caused the greatest b-carotene (94.2%) and vitamin C (84.5%) loss, while the visqueen-covered solar dryer caused the least (73 and 53% respectively). These results show that the three solar drying methods cause significant loss of pro-vitamin A and vitamin C in dried fruits and vegetables. However, open sun drying causes the most loss and the visqueen-covered solar dryer the least, making the later a probable better drying technology for fruit and vegetable preservation. The drying technologies should be improved to enhance vitamin retention.

MeSH terms

  • Ascorbic Acid / analysis*
  • Desiccation / methods*
  • Fabaceae
  • Food Handling / methods
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Mangifera
  • Nutritive Value
  • Plant Leaves
  • Sunlight
  • Vegetables / chemistry*
  • Vitamins / analysis*
  • beta Carotene / analysis*

Substances

  • Vitamins
  • beta Carotene
  • Ascorbic Acid