Processing properties of grains from some maize cultivars introduced on-farm in the Sudano Sahelian zone of Cameroon
Maize grains from twenty three cultivars developed by research and produced at farm level were evaluated for chemical composition and their ability to produce flour and grit after removal of panicle in wet and dry processes. Sixteen cultivars used for this evaluation were developed by the breeding program of the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD) of Cameroon. The remaining seven originated from CIMMYT, West and Central Africa Maize Network (Wecaman), Ghana and Congo. Flour and grit were produced in wet and dry processes with samples of 10 kg of grains from each cultivars using available machinery at village level. Wet process of the grains included the removal of the panicle, soaking for 3 hours, drying on the mat for 2 hours, milling, drying of the flour and sieving through different mesh sizes (400 to 800 microns). For the dry milling, whole or pealed grains were simply processed in a hammer mill and the flour fractions separated as with wet milling. Results indicated some variation in the proximate composition with nine cultivars exhibiting protein contents above 8%. High protein cultivars were in order hybrids 88094X87036, 87036XExp124, Acid soil pool yellow, 88094XM131XExp124, 87084XM131XExp124, Drought pool yellow, Drought pool white, Kassaï SR, Tuxpeno sequia and BSR 81. PCA analyses revealed that protein and fat contents as factors accounted for over 80% of intra cultivar variability related to chemical composition. Four major similarity groups of cultivars emerged as striga tolerant with high starch contents, the soft endosperm cultivars, the high fat and high protein cultivars. Flour and grit yields were cultivar and treatment dependant. Wet milling produced higher flour yields while grit yields were higher when dry milling of pealed grains was done for all cultivars. Cultivars that demonstrated good ability for grit production were ATP SR-Y, Acid soil pool yellow, Drought pool yellow and the hybrids. All cultivars exhibited their ability and suitability for different end uses and this should be taken into account when embarking on large scale maize production.
Key words: maize, cultivars, composition, flour, grits, wet milling,