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ABSTRACT

Sweet potato flakes are potentially an affordable, shelf-stable source of provitamin A β-carotene. Because β-carotene is susceptible to oxidative degradation, particularly in dehydrated food materials exposed to atmospheric oxygen, several packaging conditions were evaluated for enhancement of β-carotene retention in sweet potato flakes during storage. The flakes were packaged in either a polypropylene film (high oxygen permeability) with air headspace or a nylon laminate film (low oxygen permeability) with air headspace, under vacuum, or with an Ageless oxygen absorber sachet enclosed. Packaged flakes were stored in the dark at ambient laboratory temperature (∼23C), and β-carotene content was determined at intervals from 0 to 210 day storage using reversed-phase liquid chromatography. Among the packaging conditions tested, β-carotene retention was enhanced incrementally as the apparent availability of oxygen was reduced (nylon > polypropylene; oxygen absorber > vacuum > air headspace). The combined use of oxygen absorbers and flexible oxygen barrier film gave excellent retention of β-carotene during the 210 day trial.