Food Science and Technology Project Topics

Production and Evaluation of Nutrient Dense Complementary Food From Millet and Pigeon PeaProduction and Evaluation of Nutrient Dense Complementary Food From Millet and Pigeon Pea

Production and Evaluation of Nutrient Dense Complementary Food From Millet and Pigeon PeaProduction and Evaluation of Nutrient Dense Complementary Food From Millet and Pigeon Pea

Production and Evaluation of Nutrient Dense Complementary Food From Millet and Pigeon Pea

Chapter One

Objective of the Study

The objective of this project work is to produce and evaluate nutrient-dense complementary food from millet (Pennisetum glaucum) and pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan).



 Introduction to Complementary Foods and Breast Milk

Breast milk has been established as the most ideal food for infants during the first six months of life (UNICEF, 1999). Breast milk contains all the essential nutrients and immunological factors an infant requires to sustain optimal health and growth. However, after six months, the breast milk nutrient becomes insufficient to meet the nutritional requirements for the transitions of the infant. Therefore, nutritious complementary foods, also known as weaning foods, are introduced and they typically cover the period from the age of six to twenty-four months in developing countries (WHO/OMS, 2000). Improper and inadequate feeding can set up risk factors for ill-health. The lifelong impact of insufficient feeding may include low school performance, reduced productiveness, low intelligent quotient and social development or chronic diseases (Nestel et al., 2003). Hence, improved and adequate complementary foods at this period of life are substantive for the child’s normal growth and cognitive development.

Complementary foods are foods deliberately prepared and given to infants with addition to breast milk when breast milk nutrients become insufficient to provide their calorie, micro and macro nutrients need (Onyekwere, 2007). Breastfeeding gives children the best beginning in life. It is estimated that over one million children die each year from diseases such as diarrhea, respiratory diseases and infections, because they are not adequately breastfed. Breastfeeding also helps to protect and save mothers’ health from having cardiovascular disease and breast cancer. PAHO/WHO (2004), UNICEF (2002) and Linkages (2004) recommended that children should be breastfed until the age of two thereby complementing their needs with safe foods.

Advantages of breastfeeding

Reasons and advantages of breastfeeding for its recommendation are summarized below according to FAO (1997).

  1. Breastfeeding is an easy food readily available for the infant and needs no special preparation or equipment to process it.
  2. Breast milk contains adequate quantity of nutrients ideal for human infants.
  • Breast milk has got anti-infective constituents that help to limit infections during breast feeding.
  1. Breastfeeding extends the duration of postpartum, ovulation and also assist mothers to delay conception.
  2. Breastfeeding helps to create bonding and foster relationship between a mother and an infant.
  3. The breastfed infants have a reduced risk of allergies, obesity and other health problems compared with those who are fed with infant formula.

The composition of breast milk

Breast milk includes all the essential nutrients that a baby needs for the first four and six months of life.

  1. It contains the most ideal protein and fat for a baby in the right proportions.
  2. It contains more milk sugar (lactose) and this is important to infants (Lucia, 2008).
  • It is rich in vitamins and as such there is no need to search for vitamins from fruit juices or vitamin supplements.
  1. It contains enough iron for the baby which is well absorbed from the baby’s intestine. Breastfed babies are usually immune against iron deficiency.
  2. It contains enough moisture for rehydration.
  3. It contains adequate amounts of salts, calcium and phosphate.

 Complementary Food

In most African countries, such as Nigeria, the introduction of complementary food usually begins between the fourth and the sixth month of child’s life and it involves the use of a semi-liquid porridge prepared by the mother from local staple cereals or tubers (Guptill et al., 1993). During that period infants would be fed with complementary foods from two to three times a day between six to eight months and two to four times daily between nine and eleven months of age (WHO, 2004). Complementary food can be given at an early or late stage in insufficient amounts to meet the nutritional needs of an infant (Onyango, 2003; Muhimbula et al., 2011). The most common weaning food given to infant is called pap, which is referred to as ‘Akamu’ by Igbos, ‘Ogi’ by Yorubas or ‘Koko’ by Hausas. It can be processed from maize (Zea mays), millet (Pennisetum americanum), guinea corn (Sorghum species) or by combining these grains (Onofiok and Nnanyelugo, 1998). After the successful introduction of cereal gruel as complementary food, other staple foods are introduced to the child gradually. These include yam, rice, garri and cocoyam, which may be eaten with sauce or soup (Onofiok and Nnanyelugo, 2007; Ikegwu, 2010).

Traditional complementary foods from cereals commonly given to infants are not enough to meet the daily nutrients, energy and micronutrient requirements and this has been the major cause of malnutrition in infants and young children in developing countries (WHO, 2002; Amina and Agle, 2004; Igyor et al., 2010). Malnutrition during this period of life may lead to permanent and total stunted growth (Onis and Blossner, 1997) which might have a serious effect on brain development and other functional effects in the body. Protein-energy malnutrition refers to diseases arising from coincident lack in varying proportions of proteins and/or calories, which occurs most frequently in infants and young children and is commonly associated with some infections such as kwashiorkor and marasmus (Kayode et al., 2009; Mbaeyi and Onweluzo, 2010). Protein-energy malnutrition is a major health problem, especially in developing countries and contributes to death rate of infants, low physical and intellectual development of infants as well as reduced resistance to diseases and consequently stifles development (Jimoh et al., 2005).

Protein-energy malnutrition generally occurs during the crucial process of change when children are weaned from liquid to semi-solid or fully adult foods (Amankwah et al., 2009). This could be the result of inflation, ignorance and high costs of animal sources of protein, thereby making it unavailable for the common man (Ijarotimi, 2012). Therefore, poverty and bad feeding practices have been attributed as the major factors responsible for this nutritional problem (Ijarotimi, 2008). Protein energy malnutrition also results in a moderate anemia, which is frequently cause by low iron bioavailability from the predominantly cereal- based diet. The low bioavailability of iron from cereal diets is due to the presence of different inhibitors such as phytate and tannin (Lorri, 1993).





The raw materials used in this project work were pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) and millet (Pennisetum glaucum), they were purchased in “Emure market”, Owo Ondo State. The complementary food was processed in the Food Processing Laboratory; analysis was carried out in the Chemistry Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo.

 Methods of Production

  Preparation of millet flour

Two kilogram of millet was sorted to remove stones, dirt and other extraneous materials then washed in clean water. One kilogram of pigeon pea seeds were sorted to remove dirt extraneous materials and washed as described by Ikemefuna (1998) after which the seeds were co-fermented with already sorted millet grains for 3 days. After this, the fermented product was wet milled using disc attrition mill (Asiko Al1, Addis Nigeria), sieved with a standard sieve (1.0mm mesh) with portable water, allowed to stand for 1 day, drained and dried in oven at 60oC for 7 hours, sieved and packaged in polythene bag for further analysis




Table 4.1: Proximate composition of complementary food from millet-pigeon pea




            The complementary food obtained was observed to have lower protein, ash and fat content compared to commercial complementary food (cerelac), the moisture content of the MPC shows its shelf stability and less subjected to microbial attacks. However further studies is needed on how to increase the protein, ash and fat content of the complementary food used in this study.


Based on the finding in this study, it is therefore recommended that further study should be carried out to increase the nutritional quality of the complementary produce from the same raw materials as used in this study especially the protein and ash content. Also, it is important to evaluate the organoleptic properties of the sample, this will help accept the production and acceptance of the complementary food.


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