The xoconostle fruit (Opuntia matudae) is rich in polysaccharides, soluble fiber, simple phenols, betalains, and ascorbic acid. However, its consumption is limited due to its high acidity. Spray drying could be a technological option to strengthen the sustainability of xoconostle giving a re-valorization as a possible natural additive for the food industry. The food powders have to be designed considering aspects related to the effect of processing conditions on final quality properties; in this case, the effect of different drying air temperatures was evaluated on moisture content, water activity (Aw), glass transition temperature, microstructure, antioxidant activity, phenolic, and betalain compounds. For all cases, the drying air temperature had a positive effect on physical stability, at low levels of water activity and moisture content, and glass transition temperature (Tg) was increased. The biological functionality (assessed through phenolics, betalain compounds, and antioxidant activity) was also kept constant for all processing conditions investigated. However, the most evident changes were observed at microscopic scale analyzed through morphometric parameters.
Part of the book: Sustainable Drying Technologies