Optimisation of oven-drying of baobab leaves using a central composite design
Baobab (Adansonia digitata) leaves represent a key nutritional resource; although their consumption is apparently restricted to local communities, mainly as a sticky sauce, cosmetics and a variety of purposes. Ready-to-use powder of oven-dried baobab leaves can improve the availability of the product on markets, and hence its utilisation and shelf life. This study was carried out to optimise the oven-drying temperature and duration for the best conservation of baobab leaf powder and its sustainable availability for multipurpose uses. Different combinations of values of temperature and drying duration were generated, using a central composite design, in response surface methodology framework. Findings showed that dry matter, hue, chroma and lightness were significantly influenced by oven-drying temperature and duration; while the least gelation concentration was significantly influenced by the temperature. Based on leaf dry matter, hue and chroma models, the optimal oven drying conditions for baobab leaves for good preservation leading to human consumption and other purposes are set at 45 °C for 23.5 hours.