Development and quality evaluation of maize-based weaning foods enriched with plant protein

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Cowpea meal (made up of 1:1 germinated: ungerminated grains) and Ipoluea involucrata leaf (a herb normally used by traditional healers in the treatment of anaemia) meal were blended in varying proportions to obtain four protein bases which were used to supplement maize meal (made up of 1:1 germinated:ungerminated grains) at 10%, 20%, 30% and 40% levels. Sixteen diets were obtained. A diet containing 10% casein was used as the standard and cerelac, a popular weaning food was used as the control. Chemical studies revealed that at each level of supplementation, protein content decreased with increase in Ipomea inv. but fibre contents increased with increase in levels of Ipomea inv. Ether extract ranged between 1.41% and 4.04% while ash content ranged from 0.95 to 2.88%. Antinutrients (tannins, phytate and oxalate) were very low in all the diets studied. Biological studies revealed that at low concentrations of protein supplementation, the diets had low Protein Efficiency Ratios (P.E.R.) and Food Efficiency Ratios (F.E.R.) as compared with the standard and control. P.E.R. and F.E.R. increased with increasing level of supplementation up to 30% at which level the test diets compared well with the standard and control. P.E.R. decreased with further increase in supplementation of protein base. All diets gave good haematological results; the diets containing 30% level of supplementation of protein bases gave the best results. Aspartate Transaminase (AST) activity was low. Albumin levels and total serum protein for rats fed on the diets containing 30% of each protein base were comparable with the standard and control. Organ: Body weight ratios of rats fed on the formulated diets were comparable with standard and control. Consumer preference was highest for all the test diets containing 30% of the protein bases.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Science, 1994