Solar dryers are used to preserve very perishable foods like fish for long period of time by lowering the moisture content in high temperature areas and contribute to fish postharvest loss reduction. Therefore this study was conducted to evaluate dryers on moisture loss, moisture contents, drying and sensory properties of salted tilapia fillets. The experiment consisted of a factorial design, two factors with two levels of treatment processes, that is dryers (raised rack tent, solar tent and family tent) and salting methods (dry salted and brined). Open air dryer was used as control. Results show that there was no significant (pËƒ0.05) difference in minimum temperature record between raised rack and solar tents but significantly (pË‚0.05) different in maximum temperature values among dryers. The highest temperature record was observed in raised rack tent (50°C) while lowest was in open air (26°C). Dryers and salting methods had significant (p<0.05) effect on moisture loss, moisture content (oven dried) and sensory properties. Brined fish fillets dried in open air showed highest moisture loss (79.54%) followed by raised rack tent (79.39%). Significant lowest moisture content values were observed in the products dried in raised rack tent (10.17%) using dry salted method than other dryers. Sensory evaluation revealed that the most acceptable product was obtained from brining method dried in raised rack tent. The color, flavor, texture, taste and overall acceptability scores of this product were 4.60, 4.20, 4.37, 4.40 and 4.47 (5-point hedonic scale), respectively. Therefore, raised rack tent fish dryer technology was found to produce acceptable sensory dried products and need to be demonstrated and popularized in high temperature areas.
Key words: Dryers, moisture content, moisture loss, salting method and sensory properties.
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