The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of ultrasonic treatment and blanching prior to hot-air drying and freeze drying of onions on the retention of bioactive compounds (total phenolics, total flavonoids, and quercetin). Onion slices were treated either with ultrasound at 20 kHz and different amplitude levels (24.4–61 μm) for 1, 3 and 5 min or with blanching using hot water at 70 °C for 1, 3 and 5 min. The ultrasound treatment improved the retention of bioactive compounds (especially quercetin) and accordingly the antioxidant activity in onion slices dried either by freeze drying or hot-air drying. This is ascribed to the destruction of the original tissue structure by ultrasound and thus higher extraction ability of the studied phytochemicals. Comparing ultrasound treated samples, freeze dried onions had a higher retention of bioactive compounds than hot-air dried ones. Blanched and ultrasound treated dried onions exhibited similar colour change. Therefore, ultrasound treatment is a potential alternative to conventional blanching before drying of onion slices.
Food Chemistry & Technology