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Pamela L. Robinson, Niels Maness, John Solie, and Byron Criner

Sage contains the antioxidant thujone, which can be used to preserve foods in place of synthetic antioxidants. This study was conducted to determine if different harvesting methods would affect greater retention of antioxidant activity (AOA) of sage. The harvesting methods evaluated included sickle harvest, hand harvest, and flail harvest. Harvested samples were air-dried (temperature range 15 to 49C) and oven-dried (continuous 49C). Leaf area analysis indicated that flail harvesting induced substantial chopping and size reduction of the harvested material. AOA of sample extracts was measured using a carotinoid bleaching process against a standard BHT solution. Our results show a definite difference in retention of AOA between the harvesting methods (sickle 65%, hand 55%, flail 50% of BHT). This difference between harvesting methods was the same over the two drying treatments, although oven drying resulted in a decrease in AOA for all harvesting methods. Supported by USDA grant 93-34150-8409 and the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station.