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Materials 2016, 9(5), 363; doi:10.3390/ma9050363

Microwave-Assisted Drying for the Conservation of Honeybee Pollen

1
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Università di Pisa, via del Borghetto 80, Pisa 56124, Italy
2
Interdepartmental Research Center “Nutraceuticals and Food for Health”, Università di Pisa, via del Borghetto 80, Pisa 56124, Italy
3
Consorzio Polo Tecnologico Magona, via Magona snc, Cecina (LI) 57023, Italy
4
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e Industriale, Università di Pisa, Largo Lucio Lazzarino 2, Pisa 56122, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dinesh Agrawal
Received: 11 March 2016 / Revised: 2 May 2016 / Accepted: 9 May 2016 / Published: 12 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microwave Materials Processing)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1675 KB, uploaded 12 May 2016]   |  

Abstract

Bee pollen is becoming an important product thanks to its nutritional properties, including a high content of bioactive compounds such as essential amino acids, antioxidants, and vitamins. Fresh bee pollen has a high water content (15%–30% wt %), thus it is a good substrate for microorganisms. Traditional conservation methods include drying in a hot air chamber and/or freezing. These techniques may significantly affect the pollen organoleptic properties and its content of bioactive compounds. Here, a new conservation method, microwave drying, is introduced and investigated. The method implies irradiating the fresh pollen with microwaves under vacuum, in order to reduce the water content without reaching temperatures capable of thermally deteriorating important bioactive compounds. The method was evaluated by taking into account the nutritional properties after the treatment. The analyzed parameters were phenols, flavonoids, with special reference to rutin content, and amino acids. Results showed that microwave drying offers important advantages for the conservation of bee pollen. Irrespective of microwave power and treatment time, phenol and flavonoid content did not vary over untreated fresh pollen. Similarly, rutin content was unaffected by the microwave drying, suggesting that the microwave-assisted drying could be a powerful technology to preserve bioprotective compounds in fresh pollen. View Full-Text
Keywords: microwaves; honeybee pollen; Apis mellifera; flavonoids; freeze-drying; rutin; polyphenols; proline microwaves; honeybee pollen; Apis mellifera; flavonoids; freeze-drying; rutin; polyphenols; proline
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Canale, A.; Benelli, G.; Castagna, A.; Sgherri, C.; Poli, P.; Serra, A.; Mele, M.; Ranieri, A.; Signorini, F.; Bientinesi, M.; Nicolella, C. Microwave-Assisted Drying for the Conservation of Honeybee Pollen. Materials 2016, 9, 363.

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