Changes in Nutrient Content for β-Carotene, Iron and Zinc in Solar Dried and Stored Amaranthus cruentus Vegetables
Nyambaka, H. N.
Kuria, E. N.
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There is increasing need to store the nutrient rich amaranth leaves which are plenty during the wet season for use in dry season, but there is little information on the micronutrient stability on storage of vegetables produced in dry areas meant to bridge the seasonal gap. The stored dry leaves can be utilized during dry season by mixing them with cereal flours for making porridge for children under five who are vulnerable to micronutrient deficiency. The aim was to assess the changes in nutrient content of solar dried amaranth leaves within nine months of storage at ambient condition for the purpose of bridging the seasonal gap. Amaranth leaves were solar dried and ground into powder and stored for nine months. Regular testing of nutrients retention (β-carotene, iron and zinc) was done after every three months. The content of β - carotene was established using UV–VIS Spectrophotoscopy method while for iron and zinc analysis atomic absorption spectophotometry. Results showed that the mean losses of nutrients was 3.7±0.04, 1.4±0.03 and 0.69±0.04 for β-carotene, iron and zinc which translated to a percentage loss of 9.1%, 2.0% and 2.8%, respectively after nine months storage. The study noted no significant change (P>0.05) in the nutritional contents of β-carotene, iron and zinc. The concentration of β-carotene, iron and zinc remained relatively stable as shown by small fluctuations of nutrients. Dried amaranth leaves retain adequate nutrients when stored for nine months and thus can fill the seasonal gap