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Physicochemical and Functional Properties of Peeled and Unpeeled Pumpkin Flour



ABSTRACT:  This study was intended to investigate the potential of peeled and unpeeled pumpkin pulp as a raw material for the production of flour that could be used in composite blend with wheat flour or as a functional ingredient in food products. The peeled and unpeeled pumpkin pulp were soaked in sodium metabisulphite solution, sliced and dried overnight in a hot air oven, followed by milling into peeled pumpkin pulp flour (PPPF) and unpeeled pumpkin pulp flour (UPPF), respectively. The flours were then evaluated for physicochemical attributes (color, proximate compositions, and water activity) and functional properties (water holding capacity and oil holding capacity), in comparison to the commercial wheat flour. PPPF and UPPF were observed to be more attractive in terms of color than wheat flour, as indicated by the significantly higher results (P ≤ 0.05) in a* and b* values. In comparison to wheat flour, PPPF and UPPF were superior in term of nutrients as indicated by the significantly higher (P ≤ 0.05) ash and crude fiber content. No significant difference (P ≥ 0.05) was shown in water holding capacity of PPPF and wheat flour. However, the oil holding capacity of PPPF and UPPF was shown to be significantly higher (P ≤ 0.05) than the wheat flour, indicating the potential of PPPF and UPPF as emulsifying agents. Moisture content and water activity values in PPPF and UPPF were significantly lower (P ≤ 0.05) than wheat flour, suggesting that PPPF and UPPF have a better keeping quality and longer shelf life.