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Investigation of dynamic quality changes and optimization of drying parameters of carrots (Daucus carota var. laguna)
The effect of air temperature and sample thickness on the color changes and total carotenoids content of carrot slices was investigated. Temperature, exposure time, and moisture levels significantly affected the dynamic changes of total carotenoids and color. A slow and linear decrease in total carotenoids was observed at higher moisture content until reaching an inflection point at around 0.45 gw/gdm for all temperatures studied. Thereafter, the retention in total carotenoids decreased rapidly. The highest retention for a final product was 66.2% when drying at 60°C while retention was between 42.2 and 51.1% when drying at 50 and 70°C. These changes occurred alongside a noticeable change in color at moisture contents below the inflection point of 0.45 gw/gdm for all drying temperatures. Design of experiment based optimization of the drying process resulted in an ideal temperature of 59.8°C and 3.5 mm slice thickness with the predicted values for La*b*; ΔE of 62.18 ± 5.12, 22.46 ± 1.98, 40.35 ± 6.64, 6.31 ± 4.74; rehydration ratio of 0.48 ± 0.07; and total carotenoids of 163.83 ± 17.38 μg/g or 67.38%, respectively, all at a 95% prediction interval.