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Production and characterization of sugarcane powder

Experiments were carried out to produce a powder product of sugarcane juice by employing a laboratory scale spray dryer. Sugarcane juice powder (SJP) was prepared from juice obtained from a 12 month old crop of the sugarcane genotype Co 99006. Initial attempts of spray drying raw sugarcane juice resulted in poor powder yield as most of the sprayed juice adhered to the dryer chamber wall. In optimization experiments carried out, inlet temperature of 160°C, aspirator level - 70 mm Hg, spray pressure 1.0 kg cm-1 and feed rate 100 ml h-1 emerged as optimum conditions producing higher SJP yield with lower moisture content (<5.0%). Further improvement in the process was carried out by adding bulking agents, viz. lactose mono hydrate, maltodextrin DE 20, soluble starch and sucrose which significantly improved the powder yield. All the powders with bulking agents recorded low moisture content (<4%), water activity (<0.34), high bulk density (>0.5 g cm-3) and better flowability (<47°) compared to the raw juice powder. Also, all powders recorded low total bacteria (<10 cfu g-1) and absence of mould, yeast and coliforms. Differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) analysis clearly indicated that addition of lactose monohydrate maltodextrin DE 20 and soluble starch increased the glass transition temperature (Tg) and decomposition temperature while addition of sucrose had negative effect. Scanning electron microscope images revealed variations in particle size, shape and surface characteristics. Addition of maltodextrin and soluble starch formed spherical particles. Composition of SJPs did not indicate significant variation among powders prepared either with or without bulking agents. Powders retained substantial quantities of nutritional substances. Powders packed and stored in different grades of moisture proof plastic pouches for three months did not show significant changes in moisture content, bulk density, colour and microbial parameters

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