Probiotic potential and nutritional importance of teff (Eragrostis tef (Zucc) Trotter) Enjerra - A review

  • S Mezemir
Keywords: Fermentation, Lactic acid bacteria, Fibre


Fermentation of cereals for a limited time improves amino acid composition and vitamin content, increases protein and starch availabilities, and lowers the levels of antinutrients. Although cereals are deficient in some basic components (example, essential amino acids), fermentation may be the most simple and economical way of improving their nutritional value, sensory properties, and functional qualities. Functional foods have nutritional and physiological benefits and are applicable in disease prevention and management. Enjerra (Injera) is the national food of Ethiopians. It can be made from different cereals, including sorghum, teff, corn, finger millet and barley, although teff [Eragrostis tef (Zucc) Trotter] is the major cereal ingredient in Ethiopian enjerra. Interest in teff has increased noticeably due to its very attractive nutritional profile and gluten-free nature of the grain, making it a suitable substitute for wheat and other cereals in their food applications as well as foods for people with celiac disease. Because of its small size, teff is made into whole-grain flour (bran and germ included), resulting in a very high fibre content and high nutrient content in general. In traditional approaches of teff fermentation, the advantages of some form of inoculation of a new batch, such as back-slopping or the repeated use of the same container and a liquid starter ‘ersho’, are appreciated and generally practised. Still, the benefits of starter culture application as a means of improved functionality are not yet realised in teff fermentation operations. Enjerra quality, safety and functionality would be significantly improved through optimization of the traditional fermentation process on the basis of multifunctional considerations, also taking into account the dominant lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and yeasts involved, and possibilities offered for improved health benefits. There is considerably less information with regard to quality and functionality of teff enjerra. In this review, the available literature concerning teff enjerra fermentation process, involved microorganisms’ dynamics, the nutritional improvement of teff by fermentation and its potential functional (probiotics and prebiotics) properties have been compiled and are critically analyzed. Future research needs to improve teff enjerra’s nutritional and probiotic properties, and the possibilities for industrialization of its production are addressed.

Keywords: Fermentation, Lactic acid bacteria, Fibre


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1684-5374
print ISSN: 1684-5358