Chemical proximate analysis was done in order to determine the changes of nutritional characteristics of nopal powders from three different maturity stages 50, 100, and 150 days and obtained by three different drying processes: freeze dried, forced air oven, and tunnel. Results indicate that nopal powder obtained by the process of freeze dried retains higher contents of protein, soluble fiber, and fat than the other two processes. Also, freeze dried process had less effect on color hue variable. No changes were observed in insoluble fiber content, chroma and lightness with the three different drying processes. Furthermore, the soluble fibers decreased with the age of nopal while insoluble fibers and ash content shows an opposite trend. In addition, the luminosity and hue values did not show differences among the maturity stages studied. The high content of dietary fibers of nopal pad powder could to be an interesting source of these important components for human diets and also could be used in food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry.
Margarita Contreras-Padilla, Elsa Gutiérrez-Cortez, María del Carmen Valderrama-Bravo, Isela Rojas-Molina, Diego Germán Espinosa-Arbeláez, Raúl Suárez-Vargas, Mario Enrique Rodríguez-García
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