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Changes in bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity during convective drying of murta (Ugni molinae T.) berries



Murta (Ugni molinae T.) berries were air-dried at five temperatures (40, 50, 60, 70 and 80 °C), and the changes in β-carotene, phenolic acids, total phenolic and flavonoid contents and antioxidant capacities (DPPH and ORAC) were investigated. The berries showed a high content of β-carotene, which decreased during drying temperature between 40 °C and 80 °C. Free and bound phenolic acids were also determined, showing gallic acid to be the prevalent phenolic acid. Total phenolic and flavonoid contents in the dried berries showed a higher decrease at lower temperature due to longer drying time. The radical-scavenging activity also showed higher antioxidant activity at higher drying temperatures (70–80 °C) than at lower drying temperatures (40–50 °C). Total phenolic content (TPC) and flavonoids showed good correlation with antioxidant capacity. Murta berries proved to be an excellent source of antioxidants and bioactive compounds and are therefore a potential ingredient for new functional food products.