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Table of Contents
Year : 2023  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 60-66

Drying diverse temperatures alters the Physico-chemical and phytochemical properties of moringa flowers

Department of Chemistry, Dhaanish Ahmed Institute of Technology, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission16-Dec-2022
Date of Decision20-Jan-2023
Date of Acceptance19-Feb-2023
Date of Web Publication13-Mar-2023

Correspondence Address:
P Selvakumar
Department of Chemistry, Dhaanish Ahmed Institute of Technology, Coimbatore - 641 105, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpdtsm.jpdtsm_77_22

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BACKGROUND: Moringa flowers are most excellent suited for both raw and lightly cooked application such as frying or simmer. Moringa flowers are a good quality foundation of vitamin A, a nutrient that can facilitate boost the immune system and guard overall vision health. Moringa oleifera contains vital nutrients such as minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals such as tannins and flavonoids.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVE: The present work aims to study the optimization and quality attributes retention in moringa flower through freeze dryer (FD) because the conventional drying process takes more time and energy which also affects the product quality and safety.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Different solvents, such as ethanol, chloroform, hexane, acetone and ethyl acetate, were used to determine the presence of phytochemicals (alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids, steroids, terpenoids and saponins) in the moringa flower.
RESULTS: From Qualitative and quantitative screenings of moringa flower, the phytochemicals were highly present in methanol and ethanol extracts. Dried moringa flower powder was prepared by using fresh moringa flower, steam blanched for 2-5 min and then sulfated at 0.1% for 10 min. After that, the dehydration process was performed at different temperatures (45, 55 and 65°C) in an FD drier. FD dried moringa flower powder at 55°C was found maximum physicochemical properties and higher retention of phytochemical with special reference to β – carotene (55.41 mg), total antioxidant (460.18 mg), flavonoids (19.34 mg/RE), phenol (234.13 mg/GAE), vitamin C (485.09 mg).
CONCLUSION: According to the findings of this study, FD drying is one of the best drying techniques for preserving nutritional quality features while also being efficient and cost-effective for the entire food processing industry.

Keywords: Freeze dryer, Moringa flower, nutraceutical and phytochemicals

How to cite this article:
Selvakumar P. Drying diverse temperatures alters the Physico-chemical and phytochemical properties of moringa flowers. J Prev Diagn Treat Strategies Med 2023;2:60-6

How to cite this URL:
Selvakumar P. Drying diverse temperatures alters the Physico-chemical and phytochemical properties of moringa flowers. J Prev Diagn Treat Strategies Med [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 Mar 31];2:60-6. Available from: http://www.jpdtsm.com/text.asp?2023/2/1/60/371635

  Introduction Top

Moringa flowers are tiny, averaging two centimeters in diameter, and are establish hanging in delicate cluster from the undergrowth of the moringa tree. Each flower contain five soft, thin, and white petals that are occasionally glowing with yellow and have a relaxed quality, budding in multiple direction.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5] Moringa oleifera (M. oleifera) is also known as the “tree of life” because of its crucial importance. Moringa belongs to the solitary genus from the family Moringaceae and contains 13 known species. Among them, M. oleifera is a highly exploited species. The other names used for moringa are horseradish tree, Mulangay, benzolive, drumstick tree, Sajna and kelor. It is also popularly denoted as a miracle tree“, “natural gift or “mother's best friend”. India is a leading moringa producer in the world, with a yearly production of 2.2 million tons and a productivity of 51 tons of tender pods per hectare. Tamil Nadu is the leading moringa-producing state in India, with an average production of 6.71 lakh tonnes of tender pods annually from a cultivated area.[6],[7],[8] Moringa has been used in folk medicine to treat many diseases, including cardiac and circulatory stimulants; antitumor, antipyretic, antiepileptic, anti-inflammatory, antiulcer, antispasmodic, diuretic, antihypertensive, lowering cholesterol, antioxidant, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, antibacterial, and antifungal properties; and antitumor, antipyretic, antiepileptic, anti-inflammatory.[9],[10],[11],[12] Furthermore, evidence points to antioxidant activity as one of the main mechanisms of action underlying the medicinal properties of moringa leaf.[13],[14],[15],[16],[17]

To prevent postharvest losses in the moringa, there is a need for processing, and it will meet the demand of the market throughout the year. Dehydration is a traditional method of preservation; hot air is used to dry food and plant materials. During the drying process, a higher temperature can lower the flavour, colour, heat-sensitive nutrients and bioactive compounds. The quality of the dried products can be improved by reducing the process temperature when compared to higher ones. Based on the product type, availability of dryer, cost, time and energy consumption desired drying techniques.[18],[19],[20],[21],[22] The conventional drying process takes more time and energy than advanced techniques, and it also results in microbial contamination of food products due to prolonged processing time and improper handling, which will also affect the organoleptic properties and product quality in terms of mould growth during storage. Alternatives to conventional drying advanced dryers, viz., freeze-or vacuum-drying and heat pump-assisted dehumidified air drying (HPD), is used for dry heat-sensitive materials.[23],[24],[25]

Moringa flowers applications

Moringa flowers are best suited for both raw and lightly cooked applications such as frying or simmering. The flowers must be soaked in water before consumption as many insects are attracted to the flowers and may still be inside the petals when harvested. The stamen and pistils should also be removed before eating. Once cleaned, the petals can be sprinkled into salads, blended into smoothies or juices, or pressed into oils. Moringa flowers can also be stir-fried into rice and noodle dishes, used as a garnish for curries, soups, and stews, fried and eaten as a snack, or incorporated into omelets, pasta, pizza, and seafood dishes.[26],[27],[28] In India, Moringa flowers are frequently stir-fried into thoran, a side dish blending chile peppers, spices, and onions into a paste and using it to flavor the flowers. Besides fresh applications, Moringa flowers can be dried and steeped in hot water to make a nutritional tea. Moringa flowers pair well with spices such as garam masala, turmeric, curry powder, and cumin, aromatics such as ginger, garlic, and shallots, coconut, bell pepper, green beans, and meats such as mutton, poultry, and fish.[29],[30],[31] Moringa flowers should be used immediately for the best quality and flavor and will keep for a couple of days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Dried Moringa flowers will keep up to one year when stored in an airtight container in a dark location.[32],[33],[34]

Freeze drying

Because of the low temperature and lack of atmospheric air, freeze-drying preserves the natural product's constituents, allowing the powder's chemical, nutritional, and sensory properties to remain virtually unchanged, as well as having characteristics that inhibit the growth of microorganisms that could cause it to deteriorate.[35],[36],[37] Freeze-drying is commonly employed to preserve M. oleifera leaves in impoverished nations that grow and prepare them, although the high and often changing temperatures during post-harvest often have negative impacts on health-promoting bioactive components of foods.[38],[39],[40] Lyophilization, also known as freeze-drying (FD), is a novel technique that involves lowering and maintaining the effective product temperature below 0°C while simultaneously applying reduced pressure (usually around 600–700 Pa) to ensure that all of the product's moisture is sublimated from the solid-state to the vapour state.[41],[42],[43] Due to drying at sub-zero temperatures, which causes no thermal degradation and resists the operation of degradative enzymes by reducing moisture, FD is superior to conventional drying methods in terms of retaining active components of produce.[44],[45],[46] Generally, moringa leaves are more focused than moringa flowers because of its high nutritional benefits and availability but the research on moringa flowers are unexplored. The present study aims to optimize the freeze-drying parameters of moringa flower powder.[47],[48],[49]

  Materials and Methods Top

Physico-chemical properties of moringa flowers

A fresh and healthy PKM – 2 variety moringa flowers procured directly from a farmer producer organization in Madurai was used in the study. Fresh moringa flowers were analysed for their physicochemical characteristics, viz., moisture and ascorbic acid, by the methods given by AOAC.[50],[51],[52] The protein-Kjeldahl method was used to measure total nitrogen content. Crude fibre, β – carotene – HPLC method total antioxidant activity (TAA), total flavonoids, total phenols (TP) and minerals were analysed.[53],[54],[55]

Phytochemical screening of fresh moringa flowers

Extraction of bioactive compounds from fresh moringa flowers was carried out using different solvents like methanol, ethanol, chloroform, hexane, acetone and ethyl acetate. 20 grams of the fresh moringa flower samples were taken into a 250 ml beaker. After that, 150 ml of the different solvents was added and centrifuged at 1000 rpm for 2 hr until agitation.[56],[57],[58] Then, the samples were allowed to continue the extraction process at room temperature for 72 hr. Finally, each sample solvent mixture was filtered, and the crude extract was taken for phytochemical screening.[59],[60],[61],[62] Qualitative phytochemical analysis was performed with each solvent extract of the moringa flowers to determine the presence of alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids, steroids, terpenoids and saponins.[63],[64],[65]

Processing for the preparation of dried moringa flower powder

Healthy mature moringa flowers were selected, and then fresh moringa flowers were steam blanched for 2-5 min until tender and sulphated at 0.1% for 10 min to preserve the colour and to improve storage durability. After that, a dehydration process was performed with freeze-drying.[66],[67],[68] A Liotop® L101 tabletop freeze drier was used for the freeze-drying process. Freeze drying was started at 0.15 mbar after moringa flowers were placed on unheated shelves (15 Pa). The ambient radiation that reached the samples through the clear glass drying chamber provided the sublimation energy. The samples were then lyophilized for 24 hours at varied low temperatures, such as-40,-50, and-60°C. The freeze-dried powder was properly packed and stored at ambient temperature.[69],[70],[71],[72]

Statistical analysis

Data analysis was performed in a completely randomized design (CRD) using SPSS 14.0 for Windows.

  Results and Discussion Top

Proximate composition of fresh and freeze-dried moringa flower powder

The Proximate composition of moringa flowers included moisture-74.95%, protein-6.68g, crude fibre-1.9 g, β-carotene-18.85mg and ascorbic acid-282.32 mg. The moringa flowers have much-valued nutraceutical properties, where the total antioxidant activity, total flavonoids and total phenols were 226.14mg 100 g-1, 17.98mg RE g-1 extract and 63.19mg GAE g-1 extract, respectively, and with mineral contents of calcium – 48.8, iron-2.85, phosphorous-92.18, potassium-367.4 and magnesium 48.12 mg 100 g-1.[73],[74],[75] Similar results through the chemical characteristics of the moringa flower which shows the protein 2.5 g, carbohydrate 3.7 g, fibre 4.8 g, vitamin C 120 mg, calcium 30 mg, magnesium 24 mg, phosphorus 110 mg, potassium 259 mg and iron 5.3 mg per 100 g. Shailendra et al., 2016 analyzed the moringa and it contains moisture-89.99%, ascorbic acid-127.39 mg per 100 g, calcium-31.95 mg per 100 g, iron-5.35 mg per 100 g, phosphorus-107.85 mg per 100 g, crude fibre-4.00 per cent and vitamin A-185.06 IU and his results were accordance with the present investigation.[76],[77],[78],[79] Thurber and Fahey stated that M. oleifera parts are rich in protein, total carotenoids (40139 μg/100 g), nearly 47.8% β-carotene, 6.6 mg/g ascorbic acid, 22.4 mg/g iron, 6.3 mg/g calcium and 0.9 g/100 g fibre which reduce malnutrition problems among the community and have great potential to combat micronutrient deficiencies.[80],[81],[82],[83] The Physico-chemical composition of the FD-MFP is presented in [Table 1].
Table 1: Physicochemical characteristics of fresh and dried moringa flowers

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The moisture content of the MFP varied between 4.53 (45°C) and 4.075% (65°C). The protein and crude fibre contents of FD-MFP were 18.13-23.92and 9.88-12.03 per 100 g, respectively, at different temperatures. The β – carotene content of powder dried at 55°C was higher (58.41 mg per 100 g) than those dried at 45°C and 65°C.[84],[85],[86],[87] Similarly, the ascorbic acid content was also higher (305.81mg per 100 g) in MFP dried at 55°C, followed by 45°C (285.09 mg) and 65°C (211.48 mg). The total phenol, flavonoid and antioxidant activities were 234.02 to 241.08 mg/GAE, 16.18 to 19.34 mg/RE and 448.12 to 460.18mg per 100 g, respectively, at different temperature levels.[77],[88],[89] The maximum retention of calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium was found at drying temperatures of 45°C and 55°C compared with 65°C.

The same results are in agreement with the literature reported. Manju et al., 2021 in freeze-dried moringa flowers shows moisture-3.70 ± 0.06, crude protein-16.48 ± 0.34, crude fibre-7.90b ± 0.16, total phenols-192.21b ± 3.70 and vitamin C-174.41d ± 2.89. Silva et al., 2019 and reported the same results in freeze-dried moringa at different temperatures their results were Moisture content (5.88%), fat (8.15%), crude protein (27.02%), crude fibre (13.39%) and carbohydrate (37.20%) Potassium (2.40%), Phosphorus (5.40 Mg/g), Iron (6.27 Mg/L), Magnesium (5.19 Mg/L) and Calcium (4.65%).[90],[91],[92] Raising the air-drying temperature (65°C) resulted in a greater loss of heat sensitivity nutrients such as carotene and ascorbic acids due to thermal deterioration and oxidation. Low moisture combined with a higher temperature for a longer period resulted in a greater reduction in TP and TAA. Increased phenolic content was associated with better antioxidant activity at optimal temperature due to the phenolic compound's high hydrogen atom-donating ability.[93] When the drying temperature was raised above the optimal threshold, the leaf cell walls were damaged, causing the release of oxidative and hydrolytic enzymes, which destroyed the antioxidant properties.[94]

Qualitative phytochemical screening of fresh moringa flower

The present qualitative screening results indicate phytochemicals were highly present in methanol and ethanol extracts, and a lower amount of phytochemicals was noticed in the chloroform extract. The same results were recorded in methanol and ethanolic moringa extracts respectively. Intracellular ingredients are extracted from the cellular membrane by methanol and ethanol solvents due to their high penetration capacity. In diluted ethanol, the concentration of flavonoids was higher due to amplified polarity.[95] Extraction of bioactive compounds from medicinal plants is limited to solvents (chloroform and hexane) with very low strength and polarity.[96] Among the phytochemicals, tannins and flavonoids were highly detected in methanol and ethanol extracts when compared to other solvent extracts such as chloroform, hexane, acetone and ethyl acetate. Okwu DE and Okwu ME 2004 stated the higher concentration of flavonoids in moringa parts will also help to protect against allergies, platelet aggregation, inflammation, free radicals, viruses, microbes, ulcers and tumours [Table 2].
Table 2: Qualitative phytochemicals screening of fresh moringa flower

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  Conclusion Top

For both fresh and dried moringa flower powder, the effects of drying temperature were investigated. The optimal drying temperature of 55°C results in improved physicochemical features such as – carotene (55.41 mg), total antioxidant (460.18 mg), and flavonoids (19.34 mg/RE), phenol (234.13 mg/GAE), and vitamin C content (485.09 mg). According to the findings of this study, FD drying is one of the best drying techniques for preserving nutritional quality features while also being efficient and cost-effective for the entire food processing industry. Moringa flower powder, which has been freeze dried, can be used to make novel functional foods including vegetable soup, energy bars, energy drinks, extruded goods, and incorporated food products that can be employed in nutritional intervention programmes.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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