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Use of kitchen steel wool as oxygen absorber improves storage retention of beta-carotene in solar-dried vegetables

Hudson Nyambaka, James Nderitu, Mildred Nawiri, Jane Murungi


 Vitamin A deficiency remains a major health concern in developing countries whereas the season availability of vegetables could provide for vitamin A. Dehydration is widely used to preserve dark green leafy vegetables (DGLV) but storage in normal atmosphere condition losses beta-carotene by oxidation, therefore requiring use of an oxygen absorber. The study examined use of kitchen steel wool as an oxygen absorber in reducing the loss of beta-carotene content in three indigenous DGLVs that were solar dried and stored for a period of 168 days in four different packing conditions. Fresh vegetables contained between 781.94 to 1047.42 μg/g dry matter (DM) beta-carotene, reducing significantly (p=0.01) to between 653.63 to 712.99 μg/g DM after dehydration. Steel wool oxygen absorber significantly improved (p = 0.02) beta-carotene retention, recording a loss of 19.5 to 37.6% compared to 47 to 72% in normal conditions. Storage of DGLVs under kitchen steel wool oxygen absorber preserves vegetables and retains high levels of beta-carotene.

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