Cassava Sun Drying Performance on Various Surfaces and Drying Bed Depths
Processing of cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) to obtain flour is faced with a lot of technical constraints including inefficient drying. The traditional sun drying method is very inefficient as the product can take 2-3 days to dry. Mould growth and other problems such as contamination of the product are likely and therefore necessitate intervention. Among the interventions was sun drying on a platform raised 1 m above ground in comparison with drying in a direct box solar dryer; by using trays with various bottom surfaces. The experiments were done using kiroba cassava variety obtained from the University farm, which was peeled and sliced into thin chips (2-3 mm) then sun dried on wire mesh, black polythene, white polythene and woven mat for three days. The material was dried for 8 hours daily after which it was kept indoors overnight. The surface with highest sun drying performance was wire mesh while white polythene was the least. The 10 mm bed depth attained constant weight in just about six hours of drying while for 20 and 30 mm bed depth it was about 16 hours and 40 mm bed depth for about 24 hours. There was moisture adsorption which was at 10, 22 and 28 hours for the 10 mm bed depth, 10, 20, 26 and 28 hours for 20 and 30 mm bed depths, and 28 hours for the 40 mm bed depth. The time 0,10 and 20 hours marked the beginning of drying whereas 8, 18 and 28 hours marked the end of drying. The best performance was therefore obtained on wire mesh and 10 mm bed
depth and recommended for sun drying of cassava. However; there is need to investigate on whether there is significant quality difference between cassava sun dried at different bed depths investigated in this study.
Key words: drying characteristics, weight loss, ambient air temperature, perforated surface, cassava drying, sun drying, fermentation
FACULTY OF AGRICULTURE SOKOINE UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE, MOROGORO, TANZANIA