Applicability of Nixtamalization in the Processing of Millet-based Maasa, a Fermented Food in Ghana

  •  James Owusu-Kwarteng    
  •  Fortune Akabanda    


Maasa is a spontaneously fermented millet-based fried cake in Ghana. Nixtamalization, a process of cooking and soaking cereals (usually maize) in lime solution, was applied in the traditional processing of the Ghanaian millet-based fermented maasa. During the processing, Lime cooked millet dough (LCMD) and water soaked millet dough (WSMD) samples were analyzed for proximate composition, pH, total titratable acidity and microbial counts were assessed for fermenting millet dough samples. Finally, maasa prepared from nixtamalized and non-nixtamalized fermented millet dough samples were assessed for consumer sensory acceptability on a five-point hedonic scale. Nixtamalization improved crude protein and ash contents of millet dough samples whereas fat and fiber contents decreased. During fermentation, a reduction in pH and increase in total titratable acidity was observed for both nixtamalized and non-nixtamalized millet dough samples. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and yeasts count reached 9.4 and 8.0 logcfu/g respectively for non-nixtamalized millet after 14 hours of fermentation, whereas for nixtamalized millet samples, LAB and yeasts count reached 7.6 and 7.5 logcfu/g respectively. Consumer sensory evaluation of Maasa produced from nixtamalized fermented millet had improved texture, colour and overall acceptability as compared to the traditional non-nixtamalized fermented millet-based maasa. Nixtamalization can thus be applied in the production of Ghanaian millet-based maasa to improve nutritional quality and acceptability as well as maintain the benefits associated with traditional cereal fermentation.

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