Drying Techniques

It is important to find out the correct drying method for the nature of sample and the type of analysis to be carried out. If samples are presented for the analysis of water-soluble carbohydrates having been dried for 24 h at 100°C, it will be a waste of time as the sugars will be partially degraded. This also applies to cell-wall analysis by the neutral detergent fibre procedure. The original fresh herbage sample will have wilted, unless frozen, so the outcome could be disastrous. Often a compromise will be necessary if both above ambient temperature and time degrade the material. Thus the choice of drying technique will be between a low temperature for a longer period or a higher temperature for a shorter period. The decision may have to be in line with the conditions published in current journals for similar experiments, and these references may be cited to justify the choice.

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