Effects of Wheat Flour Supplementation on the Functional Properties and Mineral Composition of Plantain Wheat Blends
The Objective of the Study
Therefore the aim of this study is to determine the effect of wheat flour supplementation on the functional and mineral composition of plantain wheat flour.
History and Description of Plantain
Plantains and bananas plants are crop in the genus Musa and are giant perennial herbs which originated from Southeast Asia. Plantain and bananas are monocotyledonus plants, belonging to the section Eumusa within the genus Musa of the family Musacease in the other Scitamineae. Plantain and banana cultivars evolved by natural hybridization between the two species, M. acuminate (contributing genome A) and M. balbisiana (contributing genome B) (Swennen and Oritz, 1997).
All plantains and almost all important bananas are triploid. Triploid cultivars have genome combination of AAA, AAB, and ABB. Most plantain and banana hybrid cultivars are of tetraploid type i.e, AAAA, AABB, and ABBB (Tropical Horticulture, 2010). The world’s production of plantain between 2000 and 2002 is 25,309,000 metric tons (Mt). Out of which Africa contributes 22,478,000 Mt of the world’s production. The Americas contributes 1,835,000 Mt whiles Asia contributes about 996,000 Mt.
Environmental conditions have profound influence on the production of plantain. There are three main conditions to enable good growth and they are temperature, moisture and soil condition. Plantains grow best between 20°C and 30°C. The optimum for the dry matter accumulation is about 20°C and for the appearance of new leaves is 30°C. With temperatures above 38°C, the growth of the plantain plant stops (Banful et al., 2008) but under irrigation, this is prevented.
An average of 100 mm amount of rainfall per month would supply the required amount of moisture needed for the growth of plantain plant (Tropical Horticulture, 2010). Plantains can be grown on a wide range of soils provided there is good drainage and adequate fertility. The best soils are usually deep, well drained, water retentive loams with high humus content. Soil pH of 5.5 – 6.5 is desirable (Tropical Horticulture, 2010). Constraints in plantain production include diseases, pests, weeds, soil fertility, lodging, finance and marketing (Schill et al., 1995).
Morphology of Plantain
A plantain plant consists of basically the roots, pseudo-stem, leaves and inflorescence. The roots system consists of primary, secondary and tertiary roots. Secondary roots are those that develop on primary roots, while tertiary roots develop on the secondary roots. The primary roots have the explorer roots and the feeder roots. The explorer roots are mainly for anchorage and are thicker than feeder roots. Feeder roots take up water and nutrients and usually grow from explorer roots (Swennen and Oritz, 1997).
Pseudo-stem is the cylindrical structure growing from the corm and carrying the foliage. The pseudo-stem is not wood because plantain crops are giant herbs, not trees. It consists of tight packing of overlapping leaf sheaths (Swennen and Oritz, 1997). The pseudo-stem offers support for the leaves and inflorescence. The function of the pseudostem is purely connective and provides vascular connection between roots, leaves on one hand and the inflorescence on the other. The inflorescence, also known as the bunch, is the collection of the plantain fingers (fruits) on a fruit stalk. There are types of inflorescence, and this depends on the type of variety.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Collection of Sample (Plantain and wheat)
The plantain and wheat were bought from local market in Owo, Ondo state. The samples were cleanse and free from dirt and defects which might be a possible source of contamination It was then transported to the food processing laboratory in Food Science and Technology department, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo for further processing.
Preparation of Samples
Preparation of Plantain flour
The fresh matured unripe fruits of plantain were thoroughly sorted to remove those with bruises and other defects. The sorted fruits were thoroughly washed with clean water to remove adhering dirt. The washed fruits were peeled with knife and sliced into a thickness of about 1.5mm and dried at ambient temperature using cabinet dryer. The dried plantain was then milled to flour with the aid of an attrition milling machine and the coarse particles were removed through sieving process (figure 1).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Table 4.1: Functional Properties of Plantain-wheat flour
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The research study showed that wheat flour improved the functional properties of the instant plantain-wheat flour which could be an advantage for industrial use. However, the minerals content of the samples indicates that the incorporation of both flours will increase the mineral content of flour which can be very nutritious to Nigerians especially to the low income earners. This is an advantage in a non-traditional wheat-producing country such as Nigeria. It is also of interest in child feeding programs and for low income groups.
Based on the study it is therefore recommended that the use of plantain and wheat composite flour should be encourage not because of its fine functional properties alone but also because of its nutritious constituent both in terms of minerals and levels of protein and other essentials nutrient needed in the body. Further research should be carried out on the application of the composite flours in deep fat frying products which do not require the leavening action of gluten.
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