Microbial and Sensory Properties of Canned Tigernut Milk

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Dairy milk is an indispensable food for the nourishment of animals and man due to its treasured nutritional content and thus remains an important part of daily meals. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the microbial and sensory properties of canned Tigernut milk. The Tigernut were sorted, washed and divided into three batches for further processing. Cans were filled with 100 mL of the Tigernut milk produced and double seams made using a metal box 1 seamer. Retorting was done at 121 °C for 15 min. Microbial assay was carried out for 8 weeks to determine the total viable count of microorganisms in the canned Tigernut milk. The assessment of the microbial load of the products over the 8-week storage period showed results exhibiting similar trend as observed for the hourly study. The microbial loads over the storage period had no significant increase in load over time for some of the product formulations. Others however recorded some microbial growth with increasing counts over time. Even though the shelf life cannot be accurately predicted from such observation, an emphatic conclusion of the shelf stability of the product being far beyond an 8-week period can be ascertained. Microwaving as a method was seen to have resulted in producing sweet-smelling compounds leading to a higher preference over the other samples. Sensory evaluation was done. The results showed that the processing methods variably affected the various sensory attributes with no significant differences recorded for smell (p < 0.05). The cooked and microwaved samples were the most preferred for all the given attributes over the other samples. However, consumer preference had a slight shift towards the cooked sample in terms of overall acceptability. The microbial storage profile showed no growth up to the seventh week of storage for all samples.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Food Science and Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science in Food Quality Management.