The objective of this study was to examine the effect of inulin and maltodextrin applied during vacuum drying of Saskatoon berry fruit, juice, and pomace on the retention of bioactive compounds and antioxidant capacity (radical scavenging capacity (ABTS), ferric reducing antioxidant potential (FRAP)) of powders obtained. Ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UPLC-PDA-ESI-MS/MS) was used to identify major groups of polyphenolic compounds, such as: flavan-3-ols (35% of all polyphenols for fruit powder, 33% for juice powder, and 39% for pomace powders of all polyphenols), anthocyanins (26% for fruit powder, 5% for juice powder, and 34% for pomace), phenolic acids (33% for fruit powder, 55% for juice powder, and 20% for pomace powder), and flavanols (6% for fruit powder, 6% for juice powder, and 7% for pomace powder). In general, the content of polyphenols was more dependent on the content than on the type of carrier used for drying, regardless of the matrix tested. The average sum of polyphenols and the antioxidant activity (for ABTS and FRAP assay) of the powders with 30% of carrier addition were 5054.2 mg/100 g dry matter (d.m.) as well as 5.3 and 3.6 mmol Trolox/100 g d.m. in the ABTS and FRAP tests, respectively. The increase in carrier concentration by 20% caused a decrease of 1.5-fold in the content of polyphenols and a 1.6-fold and 1.5-fold in the antioxidant potential, regardless of the matrix tested. The principal component analysis (PCA) analysis indicated that the freeze-drying process led to the lowest degradation of the identified compounds, regardless of the matrix tested, with the exception of juice and pomace powders dried by vacuum drying at 60 °C. In this case, the release of (−)-epicatechin was observed, causing an increase in the flavanol contents. Thus, this work demonstrated the effect of processing and matrix composition on the preservation of antioxidant bioactives in Saskatoon berry powders. Properly designed high-quality Saskatoon berry powders with the mentioned carriers may be used as nutraceutical additives to fortify food products and to improve their functional properties.
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