Chemical Compositions and Nutritional Properties of Popcorn-Based Complementary Foods Supplemented With Moringa oleifera Leaves Flour

  •  Ijarotimi Steve    
  •  Oluwalana Babatunde    


Cereal gruel is the common complementary foods in developing countries, and it is usually low in energy and protein; hence, responsible for increase in protein-energy malnutrition among underprivileged weaning aged children. Several locally available food materials have been tested in combination for infant food formulations however; popcorn and Moringa oleifera leaves combination have not been used. After blanching and fermentation processing, popcorn and moringa leaves were milled into flour and blended to obtain, blanched popcorn-moringa leaves (BPM) (65% popcorn and 35% moringa leaves flour) and fermented popcorn-moringa leaves (FPM) (65% popcorn and 35% moringa leaves flour). Products were analyzed for chemical composition, functional properties and bioassay using standard methods. Protein content of FPM (21.27 ± 0.20 g/100 g) and BPM (15.99 ± 0.14 g/100 g) were higher than Cerelac (15.75 ± 0.01 g/100 g) and ‘Ogi’ (6.52 ± 0.31 g/100 g); while energy values of FPM (393.94 ± 0.39 kcal) and BPM (389.69 ± 1.40 Kcal) were lower than ‘Ogi’ (418.08 ± 0.47 kcal) and Cerelac (431.58 ± 0.01 kcal). Mineral contents of BPM were higher in zinc, iron, potassium, sodium and phosphorous, while FPM sample was higher in copper, calcium and magnesium, and were lower than Cerelac. Oxalate, phytate and trypsin inhibitor in FPM were lower than BPM. Biological value and protein efficiency ratio of FPM were higher than BPM and ‘Ogi’, but lower than Cerelac. The albino rats fed with the FPM had higher growth rate when compared with those rats fed with BPM sample and ‘Ogi’, but lower than those fed with Cerelac. Nutrient composition and nutritional profile of popcorn-moringa leaves based complementary foods could be used as substitutes for local complementary foods, which are low in protein and energy.

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