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Drying of African Leafy Vegetables for Their Effective Preservation: Difference in Moisture Sorption Isotherms Explained by their Microstructure

Abstract

The problem of malnutrition and nutrition deficiency, as well as droughts that lead to reduction in food supply and starvation, are well documented for Sub-Saharan Africa. Reducing post-harvest losses of five species of African leafy vegetables (ALVs) by preservation through drying is studied herein. Energy efficient gentle drying conditions using superabsorbent polymers and a temperature of 40 oC was shown to preserve most leave structures and vitamins. The microbial safe moisture content of the ALVs was found to be ≤ 14% dry basis. Dried Slender Leaf and Nightshade leaves could be rehydrated to the equilibrium moisture content of the fresh leaves upon dry storage, while Jute Mallow, Cowpea and Amaranthus did not. This were attributed to different palisade parenchyma cell lengths. An increased amount of starch granules as observed in the microstructure of Cowpea and Nightshade leaves are suggested to explain their fibrous texture upon cooking. These results show that the ALVs can effectively be preserved using the same drying method and that this can be used to fight micro-nutrient deficiencies during droughts

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Article information


Submitted
03 Jun 2019
Accepted
01 Jan 2020
First published
02 Jan 2020

This article is Open Access

Food Funct., 2020, Accepted Manuscript
Article type
Paper

Drying of African Leafy Vegetables for Their Effective Preservation: Difference in Moisture Sorption Isotherms Explained by their Microstructure

L. van 't Hag, J. Danthe, S. Handschin, G. P. Mutuli, D. Mbuge and R. Mezzenga, Food Funct., 2020, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C9FO01175G

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