The effects of hot air impingement drying (HAID), hot air drying with temperature and humidity process control (HADTHPC), medium-and short-wave infrared drying (MSWID), shade drying (HD) and sun drying (SD) on the drying characteristics and physicochemical quality of Stevia leaves were investigated, MSWID was screened out most suitable for Stevia leaves drying. The relationships among drying time, microstructure, color and nutrients retention were analyzed. Compared with other drying methods, MSWID significantly reduced drying time by 15.38% and better preserved the nutrients (steviol glycosides and chlorogenic acids) due to the formation of a distinct microporous structure. Moreover, medium wave infrared (MIR) drying was superior to short wave infrared (SIR) in retaining steviol glycosides and color and improving drying efficiency. Brightness and greenness of dried Stevia leaves were significantly correlated with glycosides and chlorogenic acids content, respectively. MIR at 60°C is recommended as the most suitable drying conditions due to the highest...

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