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Title: Stinging Nettles as Potential Food Additive: Effect of Drying Processes on Quality Characteristics of Leaf Powders
Authors: Nallan Chakravartula, Swathi Sirisha
Moscetti, Roberto 
Farinon, Barbara
Vinciguerra, Vittorio 
Merendino, Nicolo' 
Bedini, Giacomo
Neri, Lilia
Pittia, Paola
Massantini, Riccardo 
Journal: FOODS 
Issue Date: 2021
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) is a ubiquitous, multi-utility, and under-utilized crop with potential health benefits owing to its nutritional and bioactive components. The objective of the work is to produce powders by drying wild stinging nettle leaves as a storable, low-cost functional additive to be used in bakery and ready-to-cook products. Convective drying (CD) and freeze-drying (FD) were applied on unblanched (U) or blanched (B) leaves, which were then milled to nettle powders (NPs). The obtained NPs were evaluated for selected physicochemical (moisture, color), techno-functional (flow indices, hygroscopicity), and phytochemical (pigments, phenols) characteristics as well as mineral contents. Blanching improved mass transfer and reduced the oxidative degradation of pigments during drying, but it caused a loss of total phenols content, antioxidant activity, and potassium content. As for the drying method, CD resulted in better flow properties (i.e., Carr Index and Hausner Ratio), while FD retained better the color, pigments, magnesium content, phenolic, and antioxidant parameters. Overall, the evaluated processing methods resulted in different technological properties that can allow for better evaluation of NPs as a food additive or ingredient. Among the NPs, blanched and freeze-dried powders despite showing inferior technological properties can be recommended as more suitable ingredients targeted f or food enrichment owing to better retention of bio-active components.
ISSN: 2304-8158
DOI: 10.3390/foods10061152
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Appears in Collections:A1. Articolo in rivista

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