Brazilian Journal of Food Technology
On-line version ISSN 1981-6723
ALVES, Rosa Maria Vercelino et al. Stability of biofortified sweet potato flour. Braz. J. Food Technol. [online]. 2012, vol.15, n.1, pp. 59-71. ISSN 1981-6723. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1981-67232012000100007.
Sweet potato flour, when made from roots with high β-carotene contents, is a source of pro-vitamin A, presenting beneficial effects for human health. Thus aiming at contributing to the supply of vitamin A in the diet of more needy populations, EMBRAPA has selected and improved some crops via biofortification, such as the sweet potato, and developed products with the biofortified raw material. Complementing these developments, the purpose of this study was to correlate the effect of the type of package and packaging system on the product, in the preservation of the carotenoids in the biofortified sweet potato flour. The flour was packed with and without vacuum in packs with different oxygen, water vapour and light barriers (PET/Al/LDPE, PETmet/LDPE, LDPE/PA/LDPE and LDPE) and stored at 25 °C/75%RH with and without exposure to light. Losses of 50% of the total carotenoids and β-carotene occurred in the flour packed in PETmet/LDPE and LDPE without vacuum after 50 days of storage, due to the residual oxygen in the headspace and the high oxygen transmission rate in the case of LDPE, where the internal atmosphere showed the composition of air throughout the study. Losses of 50% carotenoids occurred after 90 days with and without exposure to light in the flour packed in LDPE/PA/LDPE with vacuum, indicating that in the presence of light, the carotenoid oxidation reaction is restricted to flour in contact with the surface of the package. Under vacuum and packed in PETmet/LDPE, the carotenoid contents of the flour reduced slightly, but were preserved for up to 360 days of storage when packed in PET/Al/LDPE. The results indicate that the key factors to preserve carotenoids in biofortified sweet potato flour are the reduction of the oxygen level in the headspace of the package by the application of vacuum, together with the use of packaging materials with an oxygen barrier as good as that of PET with a metalized barrier.
Keywords : Biofortified sweet potato flour; Flexible packaging; Barrier properties; Headspace oxygen content; Carotenoid retention; Shelf life.