Influence of Source Area and Solar Drying on The Quality Characteristics of Pineapples Varieties Grown in Central Uganda
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In Uganda, pineapples form the most developed and widely grown commodities among the fruit’s subsector. The fruit is highly produced in central Uganda from the districts of Kayunga, Luwero and Masaka concentrating largely on three varieties of smooth Cayenne, Queen and Red Spanish with smooth cayenne taking the largest share of pineapple farmers. This study targeted analyzing the effect of source area and drying on the quality of pineapple varieties produced in Uganda. Two varieties were collected from three large scale pineapple growing districts in Central Uganda and they were prepared and coded for quality analysis. Physical properties of the varieties were investigated. The results indicated a significant differences in weight, diameter, circumference and height of the pineapple varieties as compared to source areas at p<0.05. Findings showed no significant differences (p<0.05) between varieties and between source areas with respect to proximate composition across all parameters tested with the exception of dietary fiber. Mineral content varied significantly between different varieties grown in selected areas of Uganda (p<0.05). Potassium was the most abundant mineral found in both pineapple varieties while both varieties exhibited low iron levels. Similarly, Solar drying had varied significant effects on some quality parameters of dried fruits and vegetables but retained substantial amounts. Findings revealed significant differences (p<0.05) for all tested variables with the exception of titratable acidity with respect to biochemical composition of solar dried pineapple. The mineral content of solar dried pineapple among different cultivars and among production areas (p<0.05). Findings revealed that Potassium was the most abundant mineral retained after solar drying. Pineapple quality as observed in this study is affected by many factors, such as genotype, environment, climate, soil characteristics and agricultural practices among many others which in turn affects quality of the final products. Solar drying improved the shelf life of pineapples and therefore can be used to improve the marketability of pineapples in the value chain.