Food Science and Technology Project Topics

Nutritional Qualities of Infant Food Produced From the Blend of Maize, Soybean, and Tiger-Nut

Nutritional Qualities of Infant Food Produced From the Blend of Maize, Soybean, and Tiger-Nut

Nutritional Qualities of Infant Food Produced From the Blend of Maize, Soybean, and Tiger-Nut

Chapter One

Justification of the Study

Composite flour is a combination of flours, starches and different ingredients used to produce various food products. Along these lines, the expansion of maize, soybean and tigernut to produce infant food will improve the dietary and tangible properties of the product. Unfortunately, despite these potentials in tigernut, it has been a neglected crop in Nigeria. There is little documentation on the nutritional quality and versatility of infant food produced from maize, soybean and tigernut in food preparation despite its availability. Therefore, it is believed that the production of infant food with maize, soybean and tigernut will increase the nutritional value of infant food especially in protein, fat and fiber contents.

Objective of the Study

            The objective of the study is to evaluate the physicochemical, functional, mineral and sensory properties of infant food produced from maize, soybean and tigernut.



Maize (Zea may L)

Maize (Zea mays L.) is the third most important cereal in the world after rice and wheat and ranks fourth after millet, sorghum and rice in Nigeria (FAO, 2009). Maize or corn is the most important cereal crop in sub Saharan Africa (Akingbala et al., 2007). It is mostly used and traded as a leading feed crop but is also an important food staple. In addition to food and feed, maize has a wide range of industrial applications ranging from food processing to manufacturing of ethanol (FAO, 2006).

Global statistics for cereal consumption indicate that the average total consumption in the African diet is 291.7g/person/day, including an average maize consumption of 106.2g/person/day (FAO, 2009).  Maize is known and called by different vernacular names in Nigeria depending on locality like agbado, igbado or yangan (Yoruba); masara or dawar masara (Hausa); ogbado or oka (Ibo); apaapa (Ibira); oka (Bini and Isha); ibokpot or ibokpot union (Efik) and igumapa (Yala) (FAO, 2002).

Origin of Maize

Maize is one of the oldest human-domesticated plants. Its origin is believed to date back to at least 7000 years ago when it was grown in the form of a wild grass called teosinte in Central Mexico. Recognizing its early potential as a major food crop, over time the Mesoamerican natives managed to improve the crop, by systematically selecting certain varieties for their desired traits. This process led to the gradual transformation of teosinte to its present day form known as maize, a name which is a likely derivative of “mahis”, meaning “source of life” for Tanio people, the natives known to have mastered its cultivation. Maize is also known as corn, which is the name that has come into common usage primarily because it is used in the United States, the world’s largest producer, consumer and exporter of maize.

Maize is an annual plant with high productivity which also enjoys exceptional geographic adaptability, an important property which has helped its cultivation to spread throughout the world. Its gradual expansion in the Americas by the Natives was rapidly propagated in the 16th century following the return of Columbus to Europe. Colonial conquests and trade played a central role in the spread of maize cultivation well beyond the European continent, to Africa and Far East Asia (FAO, 2006). There exist several hybrids of maize, each with their own specific properties and kernel characteristics; the most common ones include: dent (or field maize, used for livestock feeding and can be yellow or white), flint (or Indian maize, grown in Central and South America), and sweet (or green maize).

Depending on their colour and taste, maize grown around the world is generally categorized into two broad groups: yellow and white. Yellow maize constitutes the bulk of total world maize production and international trade (FAO, 2006). It is grown in most northern hemisphere countries where it is traditionally used for animal feed. White maize, which requires more favourable climatic conditions for growing, is produced in only a handful of countries, the United States, Mexico and in southern Africa. White maize is generally considered a food crop. Market prices are usually higher for white maize compared to the yellow type but the premium can vary depending on local supply and demand conditions.

  Chemical Composition of Maize

Generally, whole maize contains 362 Kcal/100g; 8.1% crude protein; 72% starch, 5% fat, 1.3% ash, 1.2% fiber; 60 ppm calcium, 35 ppm iron; 1.8 ppm Zinc; 3.9 ppm Thiamine; 2.0 ppm Riboflavin; 36ppm Niacin; 3.0ppm pyridoxine; 0.25 ppm folates; 241 mg/100g phosphrous;  0.16 ppm selenium (Bressani, 2002).


Is a major chemical component of the maize kernel, it provides up to 72 to 73% of the kernel weight. Other carbohydrates are simple sugars present as glucose, sucrose and fructose in amounts that vary from 1 to 3% of the kernel. The starch in maize is made up of two glucose polymers: amylose (an essentially linear molecule), and amylopectin (a branched form). The composition of maize starch is genetically controlled. In common maize, with either the dent or flint type of endosperm, amylose makes up 25 to 30% of the starch and amylopectin makes up 70 to 75%. Waxy maize contains a starch that is 100 % amylopectin. An endosperm mutant called amylose-extender (ae) induces an increase in the amylose proportion of the starch to 50% and higher. Other genes, alone or in combination, may also modify the amylose-to-amylopectin ratio in maize starch (Zarkadas et al., 2000; Boyer and Shannon, 2007).


            After starch, protein is the next largest chemical component of the kernel. Protein content varies in common varieties from about 8 to 11% of the kernel weight, with most of it found in the endosperm. The protein in maize kernels is made up of at least five different fractions: albumin (7%), globulins (5%) and non-protein nitrogen (6%) amounting to about 18% of total nitrogen as well as the prolamine fraction (52%) and glutelin fraction (25%) of the total protein in the kernel. Usually a small amount, about 5%, is residual nitrogen (Afoakwa et al., 2002; Landry and Moureaux, 1982). The nutritional quality of maize as a food is determined by the amino acid make-up of its protein. In common maize, deficiencies in lysine and tryptophan are evident as confirmed with Quality Protein Maize (QPM) (Punita, 2006). An additional important feature of maize composition is the high leucine content in common maize and the lower value of this amino acid in QPM (Zarkadas et al., 2000; Mertz et al., 2005).





Maize (Zea mays L), soybean (Glycine max) and tigernut (Cyperus esculentus) used in the research work was purchased from a local market in Owo, Ondo State. 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 maize flour

            Whole maize was dehusked and shelled from the cob. The grains were sorted out from plant debris, stones and other foreign materials, and were then washed in water to remove other tiny dirt particles that were present on the grains. The maize was then dried at 60oC in a cabinet dryer. The dried maize grains were then milled into flour using attrition mill, after which was sieved using 60 mesh sieve. The maize powder was then packaged and sealed for further analysis.




Table 4.1: Proximate composition of complementary food from maize fortified with soybean and tigernut




            Conclusively, this study revealed that locally sourced raw materials contain sufficient nutrient to produce complementary food which can combat PEM and micronutrient deficiency among children and infants. Fortification of maize with soybean and tigernut improved the nutritional quality of the formulated complementary food.


            It is recommended that the soybean and tigernut can be fortified with maize up to 25% in the formulation of complementary food. And also more emphasis should be made on the nutritional importance of soybean and tigernut for food fortification.


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