Physicochemical Investigation of Convective Solar Drying for Post-Harvest Conservation of Hot Peppers in Adrar, Algeria
In this study, the impact of convective solar drying on the physiochemical characteristics of hot peppers harvested in Algeria was investigated. The freshly harvested peppers underwent convective drying until they reached a desired stable weight. Various parameters including moisture content, water activity (Aw), pH, crude protein, crude fat, total sugars, and polyphenol content were measured. The drying process, using an optimal method, took approximately 2 to 3 days and resulted in moisture content levels of (32.41 %), Aw of (0.26%), pH of (4.1), acidity of (2.8), ash content of (73.38%), dry matter of (67,59 %), total protein content of (0.83%), sugar content of (2.9%), polyphenol content of (89%), and crude fat content of (0.23%). In comparison, the values for the freshly harvested hot peppers were (89%), (0.92%), (5.34%), (3.6%), (8%), (11%), (1.64%), (1.64%), (125%), and (0.36%) respectively. These findings confirm that solar drying effectively preserved the nutritional quality of the hot peppers, with minimal losses in some properties compared to the values of the freshly harvested peppers
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