Dry Matter Content and Stability of Carotenoids in Kale and Spinach During Drying
Drying of spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) and kale (Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala D.C.) is required to determine percentage of dry matter (%DM) and pigment concentration of fresh leaves. ‘Melody’ spinach and ‘Winterbor’ kale were greenhouse-grown in hydroponic nutrient solutions containing 13 or 105 mg·L–1 N. Using vacuum freeze dryers and convection ovens, plant tissues were dried for 120 h at five different temperature treatments: 1) freeze drying at –25 °C; 2) freeze drying at 0 °C; 3) vacuum drying at +25 °C; 4) oven drying at +50 °C; and 5) oven drying at +75 °C. Spinach leaf tissue %DM was affected, but kale %DM was unaffected by drying temperature. Spinach and kale leaf tissue %DM were both affected by N level. The high N spinach decreased from 7.3 to 6.4%DM when drying temperature increased from +25 to +75 °C. The low N spinach decreased from 12.7 to 9.6%DM as the drying temperature increased from –25 to +50 °C. Kale averaged from 14.8%DM for the high N treatment and from 21.8%DM for the low N treatment. However, drying temperature did not have a significant impact on measured %DM in kale. Lutein, β-carotene, and chlorophyll levels for both spinach and kale leaf tissue were affected by drying temperature. Measured concentrations of all pigments decreased over 70% as the drying temperature increased from –25 to 75 °C. The largest pigment fresh and dry weight concentrations for spinach and kale were measured at drying temperatures below +25 °C. The spinach and kale samples dried between –25 and +25 °C were not significantly different from each other in %DM or pigment concentration measured on a dry or fresh weight basis. Thus, drying leaf tissue for accurate pigment analysis requires temperatures below +25 °C using vacuum or freeze drying technology.
Lefsrud, Mark, Kopsell, Dean, Sams, Carl, Wills, Jim, Both, A.J. Dry Matter Content and Stability of Carotenoids in Kale and Spinach During Drying. HortScience 2008 43: 1731-1736