Food Science and Technology Project Topics

Proximate Composition and Sensory Evaluation of Spiced Tigernut Drink Fortified With Date, Coconut and Ginger

Proximate Composition and Sensory Evaluation of Spiced Tigernut Drink Fortified With Date, Coconut and Ginger

Proximate Composition and Sensory Evaluation of Spiced Tigernut Drink Fortified With Date, Coconut and Ginger

Chapter One

Objective of the Study

This present study was aimed at assessing the proximate composition and sensory evaluation of spiced tiger nut drink.



Tigernut (Cyperus  esculentus L)

Tigernut is a perennial monocotyledous plant which has a tough erect fibrous root. The slender rhizomes of tigernut form weak runners above the ground level which develop small-sized tubers at the tip of the stem. Tigernut tubers can reach about six inches depth into the soil. The size of the tubers can be compared with that of peanut. The central erect stem of tigernut is usually covered by sheath of leaves (Bamishaiye and Bamishaiye, 2011). The botanical name of tigernut is Cyperus esculentus L. It has other names depending on the tribe or region where tigernut tuber is cultivated and utilized. The genus name Cyperus is derived from an ancient Greek name Cypeirus whereas the specie name esculentus originate from a Latin word which means edible (Ayeh-Kum et al., 2014).

Tigernut is also called ‘Zulu nut’, ‘Yellow nut sedge’, ‘Chufa’, ‘Flat sedge’, ‘Edible rush nut’, ‘Water grass’, ‘Almond’, ‘Northern nut grass’ and ‘Nut grass’ (Sánchez-Zapata et al., 2012). The three most populous ethnic groups in Nigeria which are Hausas, Igbos and Yorubas  call tigernut tubers ‘Aya’, ‘Ofio’ and ‘Imumu’, respectively (FAO, 2008) . A widely acceptable name given to tigernut tubers in Southern Nigeria is ‘Aki Hausa’ which literally describes a nut that is largely cultivated and marketed by the Hausas that dominate Northern Nigeria (Bamishaiye and Bamishaiye, 2011; Udeozor and Awonorin, 2014). A large portion of tigernut tubers distributed across the country as snacks are cultivated in many states in Northern Nigeria (Adejuyitan, 2011; Ukwuru et al., 2011).

Historically, the cultivation and utilization of tigernut tubers is a practice known to have started with the Egyptians at about 5000 BC (Allouh et al., 2015; Oyedele et al., 2015). Since then, tigernut has spread to other parts of the world. Tigernut is one of the wild edible plants that could be used to improve human nutrition. It contributes significantly towards improving the economy and cultural life of people residing in rural communities in SubSaharan Africa (Bamishaiye and Bamishaiye, 2011).

Tigernut is a member of the family Cyperaceae. So far, approximately 4,000 species of tigernut plant have been identified. In some countries, tigernut is regarded as a wild plant commonly used as animal feed (Sánchez-Zapata et al., 2012). Cyperus esculentus is very popular because the tubers are directly consumed in its raw form (Adel et al., 2015).

  Taxonomy of Tigernut

Tigernut (Cyperus esculentus) belongs to the Division Magnoliophyta, Class-Liliopsida, Order Cyperales and Family Cyperaceae (Muhammad et al., 2011).  Schippers et al., (2005) gathered Cyperus esculentus from the continents where they grow in order to carry out infra-specific taxonomy of the plant. The researchers were able to distinguish them into four clusters which represent four varieties of Cyperus esculentus (yellow nutsedge) which are var. esculentus, var. leptostachyus, var. macrostachyus, and var. heermannii. Further assessment of the geographical distribution of the infraspecific taxa of Cyperus esculentus (yellow nutsedge) were reported by (Schipper et al., 2005).

There are three varieties of tigernut tubers easily identified based on the colour of the tubers. They are: the yellow, brown and black variety. Only two of the varieties – yellow and brown are commonly seen in most local markets in Nigeria. The yellow variety is further grouped into two – the large yellow variety and the small yellow variety (Bamishaiye and Bamishaiye, 2011). Cyperus esculentus var. esculentus is weedy whereas Cyperus esculentus var. sativus is usually cultivated as a result of its rhizomes which grow into tubers for human consumption. The botanical name Cyperus esculentus is commonly used in most literature for both the weedy and the useful sedge. Although the two varieties are closely related, the weedy variety esculentus produces more seeds than the variety sativus (Lapham and Drennan, 2000). Other varieties include Cyperus esculentus var. esculentus (commonly seen around Mediterranean region east of India), Cyperus esculentus var. hermannii (Florida), Cyperus esculentus var. leptostachyus (USA), Cyperus esculentus var. macrostachyus (USA), Cyperus esculentus var. sativus (Asia) (Adekanmi et al., 2009).

  Origin and Geographical Distribution of Tigernut

The origin of tigernut cultivation can be traced to ancient Egypt (Ahmed and Hussein, 2014). The discovery of dry tigernut tubers inside tombs in Egypt which dates back to 6,000 years ago is a strong evidence to support the claim that the cultivation of tigernut started in Egypt. Back then in Egypt, tigernut tubers were roasted and used as sweet meat (Sánchez-Zapata et al., 2012). According to Orxata, (2008), tigernut tubers originate from Chuf region in Sudan. This could be the reason why tigernut tuber is known as xufa (chufa). Since thousands of years ago, the cultivation of tigernut takes place between Sudan and Egypt on the borders of the Nile River. In Southern Europe and West Africa, the cultivation of tigernut had been practiced since early times (Udeozor and Awonorin, 2014).

Cultivation of tigernut in Southern Europe was made possible by the Arabs in the middle ages when they travelled beyond Northern Africa. In 1822, Lesant, a French Chemist was the first scientist to analyze tigernut tubers (Krichène et al., 2016). As far back as 13th century, the consumption of a drink made from tigernut tubers was common among the inhabitants of the Mediterranean. From all indications, this drink can be considered as an ancestor of the modern ‘horchata’ (Sánchez-Zapata et al., 2012). In times of old, the Persian and the Arabs were familiar with the nutritive benefits of tigernut tubers (Gambo and Dau, 2014).

Tigernut is well distributed in Chile, Brazil and USA. It naturally grows in Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone (Sánchez-Zapata et al., 2012). Cultivation of tigernut takes place in other West African countries such as Cameroon, Senegal, Guinea and Cote d’ivore. In Nigeria, tigernut is grown mainly in the northern region and the tuber is available in the market all year round (Bamishaiye and Bamishaiye, 2011). Tigernut can also grow in the middle belt of Nigeria (Nwaoguikpe, 2010). It grows luxuriantly in wet marshes and areas close to streams (Bamishaiye and Bamishaiye, 2011). The geographical spread of four varieties of yellow nutsedge was described by (Schipper et al., 2005). According to their study, variety esculentus is abundant in Africa and southern Europe; variety heermannii is rarely seen growing in many countries except in south-west region of USA; variety macrostachyus grow abundantly in Central America whereas var.  leptostachyus is present in both the Old and the New World.





Fully matured fresh tiger nuts, coconut and date with no signs of defect and ginger (Zingiber officinale) were purchased from “Oja Oba” in Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria and transported to the Food processing laboratory of Food Science and Technology department, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria.


Spice (ginger) Extraction

Fresh tubers of ginger were thoroughly washed with sterile water and peeled with sharp knife. They were dried in the dehydrator (Andrew James dehydrator) at 55ºC for 24 h. The dried ginger tuber was then milled into fine powder with Excella grinder.




Table 4.1: Proximate composition of Tigernut and date-coconut drink





            It could be concluded from the study that a combination of tigernut, date and  coconut drink could be used as beverage by all and sundry due to its high Crude Protein , fat and energy content without any religious implication on it consumption. Hence, the high nutrient content makes the new product a perfect drink.


            It is recommended that the consumption of the drink should be encouraged and promoted because of its nutritional properties which are of good importance to the body.


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