The effects of microwave power (MP, 100–600 W) on the drying kinetics, as well as the physical and antioxidant properties of papaya seeds dried under microwave vacuum drying (MVD) were investigated. The results found that moisture diffusivity increased in the order of 10−8 with an increase in MP. Shrinkage increased from 1.2 to 4.9% and bulk density decreased from 3,441 to 1,091 kg/m3, respectively, while the moisture content decreased. The antioxidant contents of all of the MVD samples were higher than those of the samples dried under ambient air ventilation. An increase in MP decreased the total phenolic content from 14.69 to 10.66 mg gallic acid equivalent per gram dry weight (DW), increased both the β‐carotene and the total flavonoid content in the ranges of 0.2–0.35 mg β‐carotene equivalent per gram DW and 20.71 to 23.51 mg catechin equivalent per gram DW, respectively. Higher values of antioxidant activity were obtained at higher MP. The results have shown that the use of novel MVD technique in appropriate conditions can improve the overall drying efficiency and enhance the total yield of antioxidant content.
Papaya seeds have great potential for use as a source of antioxidants. However, the best novel techniques for retaining high values of antioxidant compounds, and therefore recouping value from the wasted seeds, has not been widely reported on. This study has found that combined microwave vacuum drying (MVD) is a very beneficial drying method for the preservation of antioxidant content. A better antioxidant yield from dried papaya seeds was obtained using MVD at a higher MP of 600 W. Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity of seeds dried using MVD was 27.62% higher than the samples dried using ambient air ventilation.