Minerals and Functional Properties of Biscuits Produced From the Flour Blends of Fairly Ripe Banana, Pigeon Pea, and Sweet Potato
Thus, this research work aimed at evaluating the mineral and functional properties of biscuits produced from blends of wheat, fairly ripe banana, pigeon pea, and sweet potato.
Plantain (Musa spp)
Plantain (Musa spp) is a staple and major carbohydrate food of many people in Africa, Asia, Latin and South America, the Carribean and the Pacific (Abiodun-Solanke and Falade, 2010). It belongs to the Musa and Musaceae genus and family respectively. Plantain is also referred to as cooking banana or starchy banana thus plantain is the name for bananas that are eatable only after cooking (Mensah, 2013). Plantain is a climacteric perennial crop which is also perishable especially in the high temperature zones. It fruits all year round hence ensures better food security among its farmers. In the work of Simmonds (2006), he reported the word plantain originated from the Spanish word platano. Plantains bear slender, starchy and relatively longer fruits compared to bananas. Plantain fruits vary widely based on the weight (50g – 300g), size, shape and color (Eshetu and Tola, 2014). In the study of Akubor and Adejo (2000), the pulp contributes about 62 % to the total weight of the plantain fruit.
In some literature, there is an unclear classification of plantain. However, three classes of plantain are said to exist namely; the False Horn Plantain, True Horn Plantain and French Plantain (Hemeng et al, 2006; Ahiekpor, 2006). The study of Robinson (2006) however reveled that all plantain cultivars are derived from the Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana species. Apem, apantu and asamienu are the local names for the French plantain, false horn plantain and true horn plantains respectively among the Akans of Ghana (Mensah, 2013). The apem and apantu cultivars are the most commonly cultivated plantains in Ghana according to Zakpaa et al (2010).
Harvesting, Packaging and Transport of Plantain Fruits
Harvesting of plantain in most producing areas is mostly carried out manually with a cutlass or machete as the harvesting tool. For the dwarf variety of plantain, the bunch is cut directly from the plant without cutting down the whole plant. However, plantain varieties with relatively taller pseudostems are harvested by cutting through the pseudostem to make the plant bend slightly, in order to bring the bunch to a reach where it can then be cut off (Tchango et al, 2009). This method of harvesting subjects the plantain fruits to mechanical injuries since there is high possibility of the bunch falling on the ground in the process (Wainwright and Burdon, 2001; Dadzie, 2004) which may lead to poor quality plantain fruits.
Plantain fruits after harvest are either dehanded or transported whiles on the bunch. In Ghana, harvested are transported home or to the market by carrying in baskets (mostly by women), on the shoulders (usually men) as well as at the back of bicycles and motorbikes. However, larger quantities of plantain are transported in trucks where the bunches or dehanded fingers are usually stuck on one another. These transportation methods are known to expose plantain fruits to mechanical damage (Dadzie, 2004) which eventually leads to increased postharvest losses
Plantain fruits are usually sold unpackaged in most Ghanaian markets. At the retail markets, they are usually dehanded from the bunch, grouped into smaller portions on either a table or on polyethylene material spread on the floor and sold to consumers. This mode of sale exposes the fruit to higher temperature, microbial contamination, mechanical injuries which occur during handling and subsequently to quality losses. On the other hand, plantain fruits for the export market are usually dehanded and packaged in perforated reusable plastic containers (Tchango et al, 2009). This mode of packaging allows plantain fruits to be transported under aerated conditions, conditions which minimize mechanical damage and reduces quality losses. Noncooking banana fruits which are closely related to plantain fruits have been successfully packaged in polymeric films for the retail and export markets. Due to their waterproof nature, polymeric film packages maintain a humid environment around the fruit and therefore reduces dehydration and prevents weight loss (Anyindana, 2016).
Ripening Process of Plantain Fruits
Plantain fruits are usually harvested at the unripe green and firm stage (Siriboon and Banlusilp, 2004). As a climacteric fruit, plantain fruits undergo three physiological stages including; the pre-climacteric stage, ripening stage and senescence which eventually leads to death (Ogazi, 2006). According to Prasanna et al (2007), ripening is an irreversible process which changes the physicochemical properties of plantain. It is said to be induced by the production of ethylene gas via biochemical processes within the fruit or by the introduction of ethylene gas from an external source.
Ethylene gas (C2H4) is biosynthesized from methionine within the tissues of the fruit and as a hormone stimulates the starch hydrolysis, tissue softening and chlorophyll degradation of ripening fruits. Ethylene stimulates the production of amylase enzymes which is responsible for the starch breakdown to sugars leading to sweetness and pectinase which catalyzes the breakdown of pectin in the cells resulting in tissue softening and reduced firmness of ripened fruits (Koning, 2004; Fajinmi et al, 2011).
According to Seymour (2003), ripening increases the sweetness of plantain fruits, decreases the firmness and increases the moisture of plantain fruits. Mechanical injury, high temperatures, oxygen, chemicals within the postharvest environment promote the ripening process of plantain fruits (Sharma and Singh, 2000; Brecht et al, 2004). Traditionally, plantain is ripened for consumption by storing fruits in dark airtight or enclosed places usually in jute or polyethylene bags, earthen pot and at times with high ethylene producing fruits such as apple and arvingia (Fajinmi et al, 2011). Storage in airtight or enclosed areas ensures the retention of the produced ethylene gas around the fruits which facilitates the ripening process (Anyindana, 2016). Therefore, preservation methods aimed at maintaining the fresh, green and starchy quality of plantain fruits ensure the elimination of factors that promote ethylene production and/or retains ethylene in the storage environment.
Uses of Plantain Fruits
Plantain provides daily food for about 70 million people in West Africa (Eshetu and Tola, 2014). It has many uses in traditional dishes which is either fried or boiled, roasted or pounded and eaten with other food complements or sometimes processed into beverages (Akubor, 2003; Mohapatra et al, 2009). It can be consumed unripe (green), slightly ripened (yellowish-green) or fully ripened (yellow) once it has been boiled, fried or roasted (Baiyeri et al, 2011). Plantain fruits are also used in feeding livestock.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Fairly ripe banana, Pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) and Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) used in the research work was purchased from a local market in Owo, Ondo State. Other ingredients sugar, fat, flavoring, baking powder, eggs etc. used for the biscuits production were obtained from a local market in Owo. The samples were processed in food processing laboratory and the chemical composition (proximate analysis) was carried out in the chemistry laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo, Ondo State.
Preparation of fairly ripe banana flour
The unripe plantain was processed in the processing laboratory in the department of Food Science and Technology, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Nigeria. The unripe plantains were washed, hand-peeled and manually sliced into cylindrical pieces of 2mm thickness. Blanching was carried out on the sliced samples in hot water at a temperature of 1000C for about 10 minutes, after which it was sundried from morning (9 am) till evening (4 pm) for 7 days. The dried plantains were then milled using attrition mill to obtain the flour followed by sieving to produce flour which passed through a 500 µm sieving bowl. The plantain flour obtained was packaged in polyethylene bags labeled and stored at room temperature for further analysis.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Table 4.1: The results obtained for the mineral composition of biscuit product from composite flour (Fairly riped banana, pigeon pea and sweet potato)
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The functional properties of wheat flour such as sweating capacity, water absorption capacity or an adoption capacity and gelatinization constitution and bulk density were reduced with incorporation of other flour with wheat flour. The results showed that the addiction of fairly ripe bananas between pure and sweet potato flour to white flour in the proportion of 30% may not be totally acceptable as all the parameters evaluated were affected negatively. In terms of functional properties. Meanwhile the result of the mineral composition showed that inclusion of the composite flower cost increase in mineral elements evaluated.
It is therefore recommended that biscuit produced from a blend of wheat with fairly unripe banana pigeon pea and sweet potato would be a good source of minerals for both adults and children.
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