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Stinging Nettles as Potential Food Additive: Effect of Drying Processes on Quality Characteristics of Leaf Powders

Nallan Chakravartula, Swathi Sirisha; Moscetti, Roberto; Farinon, Barbara; Vinciguerra, Vittorio; Merendino, Nicolò; Bedini, Giacomo; Neri, Lilia; Pittia, Paola and Massantini, Riccardo (2021) Stinging Nettles as Potential Food Additive: Effect of Drying Processes on Quality Characteristics of Leaf Powders. Foods, 10 (6), p. 1152.

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Document available online at: https://www.mdpi.com/2304-8158/10/6/1152


Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) is a ubiquitous, multi-utility, and under-utilized crop with potential health benefits owing to its nutritional and bioactive components. The objective of the work is to produce powders by drying wild stinging nettle leaves as a storable, low-cost functional additive to be used in bakery and ready-to-cook products. Convective drying (CD) and freeze-drying (FD) were applied on unblanched (U) or blanched (B) leaves, which were then milled to nettle powders (NPs). The obtained NPs were evaluated for selected physicochemical (moisture, color), techno-functional (flow indices, hygroscopicity), and phytochemical (pigments, phenols) characteristics as well as mineral contents. Blanching improved mass transfer and reduced the oxidative degradation of pigments during drying, but it caused a loss of total phenols content, antioxidant activity, and potassium content. As for the drying method, CD resulted in better flow properties (i.e., Carr Index and Hausner Ratio), while FD retained better the color, pigments, magnesium content, phenolic, and antioxidant parameters. Overall, the evaluated processing methods resulted in different technological properties that can allow for better evaluation of NPs as a food additive or ingredient. Among the NPs, blanched and freeze-dried powders despite showing inferior technological properties can be recommended as more suitable ingredients targeted for food enrichment owing to better retention of bioactive components.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Urtica dioica L., drying, powder, technical properties, functional properties
Agrovoc keywords:
food processing
Subjects: Food systems > Food security, food quality and human health
Food systems > Processing, packaging and transportation
Research affiliation: European Union > CORE Organic Cofund > SusOrgPlus
Italy > Univ. Tuscia
Italy > Univ. Teramo
Deposited By: Neri, Dr. Lilia
ID Code:40207
Deposited On:26 Jul 2021 13:11
Last Modified:26 Jul 2021 13:11
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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