Inish Chris P. Mesias*, Julie D. Tan, Daniel Leslie S. Tan and Benjamin L. Cinto, Jr.
Fresh leaves are sensitive to high temperature so that appropriate drying method should be selected to dry leaves. This study aimed to determine the effect of drying methods on the physico-chemical characteristics and antioxidant capacity of taro (Colocasia esculenta), sweetpotato (Ipomea batatas), stevia (Stevia rebaudiana), and malunggay (Moringa oleifera) leaves. Fresh, healthy and mature leaves of taro, sweetpotato, stevia, and malunggay were subjected to solar drying, mechanical drying, and sun drying. The parameters evaluated in this study included moisture content, rehydration ratio, bulk density, water activity, total chlorophyll, antioxidant capacity, and non-enzymatic browning. Results showed that solar drying obtained the highest moisture removal capacity, rehydration ratio and water activity reduction while sun drying had the least. However, it was also with solar drying that the degree of non-enzymatic browning was the highest. Minimum bulk density was attained using solar and mechanical drying. In terms of chlorophyll content, mechanical drying had the highest. No apparent difference at p<0.05 between solar and sun drying methods was observed in terms of their effects on chlorophyll retention and antioxidant capacity. Variable effects of the different drying methods include little or no change, significant declines or enhancement of the leaves’ physico-chemical and antioxidant attributes.
Keywords: drying methods, antioxidant capacity, taro, sweet potato, stevia, malunggay