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POTENTIALS OF Piper guineence (Schum and Thom) AND Mondora myristica (Gaertn) FOR THE PROTECTION OF STORED MAIZE (Zea mays) AGAINST Sitophilus Zeamais

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Cereals

Cereals are monocotyledons belonging to various tribes of the grass family and they constitute various crops which serve as industrial raw materials and staple foods the world over. World cultivated cereals include wheat, maize, rice, barley, oat, rye sorghum, millet, among others.  Some of the important characteristics of cereals include the following, high carbohydrate, low fat, and a fair content of protein.  The functionality of these components in the different cereals determines, to a large extent, their uses as food and industrial raw materials. (Enwere, 1998).

Structurally, there are a few important features that cereals have in common and these form the basis for subsequent milling and processing operations. All cereals are plant seeds and as such contain a large centrally located starchy endosperm which is also rich in protein, a protective outer coat consisting of two or three layers of fibrous tissue, and an embryo or germ usually located near the bottom of the seed (Ihekoronye and Ngoddy, 1985).

Cereals have an easy-to-preserve advantage over other plant crops, in their being able to dry to a safe moisture level naturally in the field. In humid environments, cereals   can be dried by artificial means. For the safe storage of cereal, the following conditions need to be implemented.

  • Grains must be dried to an appropriate moisture content within a reasonable period for safe storage.
  • Grains, once dried to a safe moisture level must be protected from excessive moisture generation and uptake.
  • Grains for storage must be made free of insect pests by pre-storage chemical or physical treatment followed by insect proofing to suppress insect proliferation or attack (Okaka 2005).

Cereals are generally referred to as grains due to their granular nature.

Maize (Zea mays) originated in the Western hemisphere, but is now cultivated in many parts of  Africa, North, South, and Central America, Europe and Asia (Matz 1969, Obi 1991). According to Purseglove (1992) there are different varieties of maize examples include pod corn, popcorn, flour or soft maize, sweet corn or sweet maize, waxy maize, flint maize and dent maize. The last two are also known as field corn or maize..

Spices have been defined by the Food and Drug Administration as aromatic vegetable substances used for the seasoning of food, and from them, no portion of any volatile oil or other flavouring portion has been removed, and are free from artificial colouring matter, adulterants and impurities. (Enwere,1998).

Spices add flavour to foods. They consist of rhizomes, barks, leaves, roots, flowers, fruits, seeds and other parts of a plant (Parry, 1969). Most are fragrant, aromatic and pungent. The flavouring agent in spices constitute only a small fraction of the dry matter. The bulk of the materials consists of carbohydrates, such as cellulose, starch, sugars, pentosans and mucilages. Spices also contain proteins, tannins, resins, pigments, mineral matter, volatile oils, terpenes, alcohols, sesquiterpenoids, esters, aldehydes, ketones, phenols, ethers among others. These and other compounds vary in different spices and flavouring agents (Enwere, 1998).

Published research on the use of plant materials, extracts and oils for the control of stored products pests show that over the past 12 years, a large number of plant species from a wide range of families have been evaluated. Jacobson, (1989), suggested that the most promising botanicals were to be found in the families Meliaceae, Rutaceae, Piperaceae, Annonaceae, Asteraceae, Labiatae and Canellaceae.

Insecticidal evaluation of some plant materials as grain protectants  shows that  Aristolochia ringines and Zanthoxylum xanthoxyloides  were potent within 1-4 days of treatment. (Arannilewa and Odeyemi, 2007),

Ohazurike et al., (2006) reported that the efficacy of seed extracts of Jatropha curcas as maize grain protectants against storage pest Sitophilus zeamais, was dose dependent with higher doses providing greater protection for the maize grains. Xylopia aethiopica was shown to have good potential for short term cowpea storage.(Ojimelukwe and Okoronkwo,1999).  Udo, (2005) evaluated  the potential of some local spices as stored grain protectants against maize weevil, and reported that the spices showed good potentials as grain protectants. Among the spices used were Allium sativum, Piper guineense, Afromomum melequata, Tetrapleura tetraptera, and Xylopia aethiopica. Also Orji et al., (1991), reported the insecticidal activity of dried fruits of Xylopia aethiopica and Piper guineense on stored maize.

 

  • GENERAL  OBJECTIVE

This study was designed to ascertain the efficacy of two local spices, namely Piper guineense and Monodora myristica in protecting stored maize.

 

1.3       SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

  • To identify the most effective spice concentration.
  • To determine the effect of these spices on seed viability after storage.
  • To evaluate the effect of the spices on the sensory properties of maize and its products.

1.4       JUSTIFICATION FOR THE STUDY

  • There is the need for farmers in the rural areas to use affordable materials for the control of pests, since the use of synthetic fumigants is expensive.
  • The use of spices will eliminate the serious health problems due to the accumulation of toxic residues on food grains consumed by human beings.

The farmers will have access to their grains even after a short time of storage, since with the use of some fumigants the grains must be stored for at least three months before

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