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1.0                                                                      I N T R O D U C T I O N


In many developing countries such as Nigeria, malnutrition is an endemic dietary problem characterized by protein-energy malnutrition and micro-nutrient deficiency (Nnanyelugo, 1990; Bowley, 1995; Adelekan et al., 1997; WHO, 2005, 2006).  In the past few years, efforts have been made to reduce or eliminate the problem globally.  Dietary diversification has been suggested as the ultimate solution to malnutrition challenges.  Dietary diversification involves the use of commonly available or consumed grains, legumes and other nutritious crops to meet the nutritional/dietary need of the population.  Consequently, there is a need for baseline research to identify and exploit the potentials of locally available but under-utilized agricultural produce in nutritious product formulations.


Among the locally available under-utilized agricultural produce are bambara groundnut, hungry rice (“acha”) and carrot, whose utilization are presently limited to household level, even though they have potentials for industrial application. Bambara groundnut is an under-utilized indigenous African legume and one of the most important crops in the continent.  Total production has been estimated to be over 300,000 tons per year (Poulter, 1981).  It is an inexpensive source of high quality protein and the third most important legume in Africa, after cowpea and groundnut (Obizoba and Egbuna, 1992; Enwere and Hung, 1996).  Despite this, its use is limited to household consumption in most parts of Nigeria.  In Eastern States, the seed is used in the preparation of a steam gel popularly known as “Okpa” while in the Northern parts it is consumed in the form of meal or roasted snack.  According to Poulter (1981), bambara groundnut contains 24% protein, 6-8% lysine, 1.3 methionine and 50% carbohydrate, it also contains reasonable quantities of minerals and vitamins.


Hungry rice commonly referred to as “acha”, “fonio” or “finni” is another under-utilised crop.  It is estimated that over 101.3 tons is produced annually in Nigeria, mostly in the Northern States (Bauchi, Plateau and Kaduna) (CBN, 2005).  Hungry rice is processed and consumed in a variety of ways such as “tuwo”, “kunnu”, “gote”, while whole grains are used in preparation of soup and porridge (Jideani, 1999).  Hungry rice is reported to be uniquely rich in methionine and cystine (NRC, 1999).  It also relatively evokes low sugar release on consumption, which is an advantage for diabetics (Ayo et al., 2003).

Carrot (Daucus carota) is one of the traditional root crops of Northern Nigeria.  It is very rich in carotene the precursor of vitamin A, and contains appreciable amount of thiamine and riboflavin (Pederson, 1980).  Carrot is fast acquiring the status of “lost crop” in the African continent because its local utilization is limited to direct eating in unprocessed form as snack (Pederson, 1980).  There is need to diversify and popularize other means of utilizing carrot to derive maximum health benefit from its nutrient particularly carotenoids(carotene/b- carotene).


Blends of these nutrient dense agricultural produce could be exploited to develop nutritious shelf stable snacks, which could help in alleviating problems of protein-energy malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency prevalent in the country.  However, to get maximum nutrient benefit from these crops, they need to be processed to reduce or remove inherent anti-nutrients that may interfere with the biological availability of the nutrients. Among the methods used in removing inherent anti-nutrients include roasting, germination, frying, cooking and recently extrusion cooking (Siegal and Fawcett, 1976; Rajawat et al., 1999, Nwabueze, 2006).


Extrusion cooking technology is a high temperature short time (HTST) technology. It has been extensively used in producing varieties of food products, especially in creation of novel food products and improvement of existing ones like snacks (Lowtan et al., 1985;  Lasekan et al., 1996).  It is considered a beneficial food processing technique, due to its effective destruction of growth inhibitors and contaminating micro-organisms (Tarte et al., 1989; Chang et al., 2001).  It has also been shown to improve the nutritional quality of food products like snacks (Pham and Rosario, 1987, Rajawat et al., 1999;  Nwabueze, 2006).


1.1       Statement of the problem

Most developing countries experience high burden of protein – energy  malnutrition and severe micro-nutrient deficiencies, which have attracted the numerous interventions by major stakeholders, to mitigate the challenges.  Dietary diversification involving the use of commonly available or consumed grains, legumes and other nutritious crops to meet the nutritional needs of the population has often been advocated.  Consequently, the idea of production of nutrient dense ready-to-eat extruded snacks from blends of bambara groundnut, hungry rice (“acha”) and carrot appears to be a very attractive strategy to combat the observed nutritional challenges. However, to get maximum nutrient benefit from these crops, processes like roasting,  germination and then extrusion were employed to reduce/eliminate the inherent anti-nutrients that may interfere with the biological availability of the nutrients and enhance acceptability.


1.2       Significance of the study

This research work has the capacity to address the twin problems of protein-energy malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, which pose a challenge to meeting nutrition related Millennium Development Goals (MGDs). It will stimulate establishment of facilities for production of nutrient dense ready-to-eat extruded snacks, which could be readily employed in nutrition intervention program like school feeding programmes, community nutrition activities, nutrition support in emergency situations and promotion of food security for vulnerable groups/households.


1.3       Objectives of the study

  • To produce high nutrient composite flour from blends of bambara ground nut, hungry rice and carrot.
  • To utilize the composite flour in the production of extruded snacks.
  • To evaluate the nutritional quality and sensory properties/acceptability of the products.
  • To study the shelf life of the developed and packaged products.


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