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To study the effect of different dehydration methods on physicochemical properties of Roystonea regia nuts (royal palm nuts), three treatments were established, consisting of three methods for drying seeds: in an oven at 45 ºC, open air and in a solar dryer. The fresh sample constituted the control. Physical properties like sphericity, weight of 1,000 nuts, apparent and real density, as well as porosity, were studied. The content of dry matter, ash, crude protein, ether extract and fiber fractionation were determined. For the variables weight loss and bed temperature, the mixed generalized linear model was used, with repeated measurements over time. Analysis of variance was applied for analyzing physicochemical properties, according to a completely randomized design. Interaction in temperature (sampling hours x treatment) was observed, and there was no effect on weight loss. This last indicator decreased as drying time increased (0.92, 0.79, 0.64, 0.48 kg for 0, 24, 48 and 72 h, respectively, P <0.0001).
There were no differences among treatments for physical properties, but there were differences regarding the fresh sample. However, crude protein, ether extract, acid detergent fiber and lignin varied. Results allowed to conclude that the dehydration method did not influence on weight loss nor on palm nuts properties. However, it was found that, out of the three studied methods, the use of solar dryer favors chemical composition of the grain.
Key words: chemical composition, dehydration, royal palm, gravimetric properties
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