Nutritional and microbiological evaluations of chocolate-coated Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima) fruit for commercial use
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- Gounga, M.E., Xu, S. & Wang, Z. J. Zhejiang Univ. Sci. B (2008) 9: 675. doi:10.1631/jzus.B0820138
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In recent years, China has become an increasingly important and the largest chestnut producer in the world. This study aimed to evaluate the nutritional value and microbiological quality of the roasted freeze-dried Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima) (RFDC) coated with dark chocolate (DCC) and milk chocolate (MCC) for industrial use and commercial consumption. Chocolate coating significantly improved the nutritional value of chestnut. RFDC had high levels of starch (66.23%) and fibers (3.85%) while DCC and MCC contained significantly high amounts of sucrose, protein, fat and minerals. Furthermore, the protein content doubled in MCC rather than in DCC. This could be attributed to the different formulations in the two products. Milk powder and whey protein constituted the source of protein in MCC while cocoa powder added to MCC formulation constituted an additional source of minerals. The amino acid profile showed differences in amino acid composition related to the sample’s protein content, indicating their good nutritional quality. The moisture contents in all RFDC, DCC and MCC were suitable for industrial processing. These results provide information about the additional nutrients of chocolate-coated chestnut and confirm that the product is an interesting nutritional food. The combination of freeze-drying and chocolate-coating generally results in greater reductions on microbiological loads, extending shelf life of harvested chestnut for commercial application. This is an alternative strategy to add value to chestnut, minimizing the significant losses in harvested fruits and providing a wider range of choices of new products to the consumer disposal.