EVALUATION OF THE NUTRITIONAL POTENTIALS OF FERMENTED OILBEAN SEED Pentaclethra macrophylla
- BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Fermentation is a chemical change in food brought about by enzymes from living microorganisms. It is a food processing technique practiced by man for centuries in various part of the world especially Africa and the Orients (Uzogara, et al, 1990).
Fermented foods are prepared from plant and animal materials by processes in which microorganisms play important role in modifying the substrate physically, nutritionally and sensorily (Njoku et al., 1989). Fermented foods are prepared as traditional family art practiced as rural cottage industries (Odunfa, 1986). Fermented foods are consumed by a large number of people in different parts of the world; in developing countries in particular, they play a major role by providing essential nutrients and variety in the diet. Contribution of fermented foods to human diet is crucial in developing countries where numerous fermented foods (especially cereal-based and legume-based) are an integral part of daily food intake.
Fermented oilbean seed also called 'ugba' by the Igbos and 'ukana' by the Efiks is a Nigerian indigenous fermented food, rich in protein and is obtained by a solid-state fermentation of the seeds of oilbean tree. It is a popular food delicacy in Nigeria especially among the Igbo ethnic group where it serves as snack, side dish or as a food condiment. It is an essential food item for various ceremonies where it is mixed with slices of boiled stockfish (ugba na okpoloko), garnished with boiled vegetables and consumed by all socio-economic class. The unfermented seeds are bitter to taste and contain toxic alkaloids and saponins. The natural fermentation of seeds which at present is still done at the household level renders the product nutritionally palatable and non-toxic. Its production like many other African fermented foods depends entirely on mixed fermentation by some of which may still be alive and active when the product is consumed. The method of production varies from one producer to another resulting in a non-uniform product with short shelf-life.
The nutritional contents of fermented oilbean seed may be affected due to contamination by pathogenic microorganisms during production and keeping, though some attempts to improve the packaging and keeping quality have been reported including packaging with low and high density polyethene satchets and alluminium foil wraps, treatment with different concentrations of chemical preservatives including 2% sodium chloride(NaCl). However, non of the methods had been reported to extend the shelf-life of the product beyond fourteen days. Recentlty, a study was carried out using starter culture- an entirely different packaging technique involving screwable bottles and cans and locally adaptable pasteurization to produce and enhance the shelf-life of the product. Food nutritionist should endeavour to explore avenues of extending the shelf-life of fermented oilbean seed without impairing its nutritional quality, freshness (flavour, colour and appearance) and consumer acceptance. (Odunfa, 1987).
This study will serve as a guide to those who cannot afford conventional sources of animal protein like meat, fish, eggs and so on to go for the cheaper alternative plant source of protein (fermented oilbean seed) using the best identified level of fermentation for maximum utilization and benefit.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Like other Nigerian indigenous fermented foods and beverages, fermented oilbean seed is associated with problems like short shelf-life arising from uncontrollable fermentation that occurs after the normal production period and vulnerability of the product to contamination by pathogenic microorganisms during production and keeping which may further affect its nutritional contents. Hence, food nutritionist should endeavour to explore avenues of extending the shelf life of fermented oilbean seed without impairing its nutritional quality, freshness (flavour, colour, and appearance) and consumer acceptance.
1.3 AIMS/ OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This work is conducted with the aim of evaluating the nutritional potentials present in fermented oilbean seed (pentachlethra macrophylla) by collecting the sample, preparing the sample and determining the nutritional potentials present in it.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The incidence of protein deficiency in Nigeria is high because many people cannot afford meat, fish and other proteinous animal products due to their astronomic costs. This study will create awareness and also serve as a guide to those whose staple foods are deficient in proteins since fermented oilbean seed is an important and cheap source of protein.
- SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is to evaluate the nutritional potentials present in fermented oilbean seed and this include; sample collection, sample preparation and the determination of the nutritional potentials present in fermented oilbean seed.