Drying kinetics of ‘babassu’ mesocarp
ABSTRACT ‘Babassu’ mesocarp flour has been used by the pharmaceutical, human food and animal feed industries. However, there is lack of standardization in the production, as well as absence of information on the management of the product’s quality. Thus, the objective of this study was to dry the ‘babassu’ mesocarp in forced-air oven and solar dryer, adjust different mathematical models to the experimental data, as well as to quantify the levels of proteins and crude fiber of the produced flour. The criteria for the adjustment were the coefficient of determination, magnitude of the mean relative error, standard deviation of estimate and the residual distribution trend. Drying in the shortest time occurred in oven at 60 °C (370 min), leading to water content of 4.62%, while in the solar dryer the final water content was 8.07% in 6 days. The mathematical model Two Terms showed the best fit to the experimental data for oven drying and the Midilli model showed the best fit in solar dryer. There was an increase in protein content with the drying in solar dryer and oven at 40, 50 and 60 °C (1.36, 1.33, 1.15 and 1.37%, respectively) in relation to fresh mesocarp (0.88%). Drying in both oven and solar dryer promoted increase of protein in the flour.