A Review on the Physicochemical Properties of γ-irradiated Copra (Dried Cocos nucifera L.)
Copra or dried coconut kernel is a primary product of coconut and is known to be a source of coconut oil. It is found to be highly susceptible to Aspergillus flavus that can cause aflatoxin contamination during pre- and post-harvesting processes. Therefore, researchers have been looking for a method to reduce aflatoxins in copra to a safe level while positively affecting its properties. The γ-irradiation is found to induce growth inhibition of A. flavus in copra at low irradiation doses (0 to 3 kGy) using a semi-commercial irradiator. This result is supported by other food samples having a high reduction of aflatoxins. Currently, no studies examined the influence of γ-irradiation on the physicochemical properties of copra. Hence, this study used the properties of different γ-irradiated commodities that are similar to copra to justify the need of investigating properties in irradiated copra. Gamma irradiation has the potential to increase the fat and ash content, decrease protein and crude fiber content at higher absorbed doses, and expected no changes in moisture content of the irradiated copra. In addition to this, the effect of the irradiation on carbohydrate content, phytochemical profile, and water activity may vary in significant findings until further investigations have been made on irradiated copra. However, the researchers recommended that the microbial activity of A. flavus and characterization of the physicochemical properties of irradiated copra were necessary for future experimentations.
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