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Nutritive value and sensory acceptability of corn- and kocho- based foods supplemented with legumes for infant feeding in Southern Ethiopia

Yewelsew Abebe
Barbara J Stoecker
Margaret J Hinds
Gail E Gates


In most developing countries, complementary foods are based on staple cereal or root crops. Imported or commercially developed foods generally are not used by low-income rural households due to high cost and poor availability. To improve the quality of children's diets in Southern Ethiopia, two complementary foods were formulated based on corn, or on an indigenous root crop (Enset ventricosum) product called kocho. Kidney beans and pumpkin pulp were used to improve the protein and vitamin A values, respectively. Kidney beans and corn were soaked, germinated and lightly roasted before grinding. Four formulations of complementary foods were prepared. Two of them were traditional corn- or kocho-based, and served as controls. The other two were supplemented formulations, and contained either corn:kidney bean:pumpkin (CBP) or kocho:kidney bean:pumpkin (KBP). Crude protein and fat, amino acid profile, and carotene content of the corn, kocho, kidney bean, and pumpkin were determined by standard AOAC methods. The four formulations were evaluated for sensory acceptability in Southern Ethiopia by mother and child pairs. The CBP and KBP formulations had crude protein contents of 14.07 g/100 g and 13.81 g/100 g, respectively, while the traditional corn and kocho had only 8.82 g/100 g and 1.46 g/100 g, on a dry weight basis. Adding kidney beans to both mixtures improved their essential amino acid profiles, but the need to serve the foods as thin porridge for infants created low energy density products. The pumpkin in CBP and KBP provided 54 µg RAE per 100 kcal, increasing the Vitamin A value of the mixes by 25- and 180-fold, respectively. Sensory evaluation of CBP by 30 mother and child pairs, and KBP by 28 pairs indicated high acceptability (4.7 - 4.9 on a 5-pt Hedonic scales) of the complementary foods. Acceptability scores of CBP and KBP were not significantly different (p > 0.05) from those of the traditional corn and kocho formulations. Thus, addition of kidney beans and pumpkin is a potential way to increase the nutritive value of traditional Ethiopian complementary foods prepared from corn or kocho.

Keywords: amino acid profile, legume, nutrient density, complementary foods, vitamin A

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development Vol. 6(1) 2006

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eISSN: 1684-5374
print ISSN: 1684-5358