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Proximate composition and sensory characteristics of refractance window dried cowpea composite porridges

M.S. Wasswa
R. Fungo
A. Kaaya
J.H. Muyonga


Undernutrition is a major public health concern in Uganda. Locally available nutrient dense diets can help reduce the problem of undernutrition.  Utilisation of cowpea leaf powder in preparing composite porridge blends depends on sensory acceptance of the consumers. A Nutrisurvey  software was used to formulate two composite flour blends, namely maize and millet in a ratio 2:8 and cowpea-maize in a ratio of 1:9 to achieve the  daily requirement of protein for children. The study developed a process for the production of composite cowpea flour from finger millet flour and  maize flour and followed a one factor design in which maize flour (MF) and millet flour (MMF) was substituted with cowpea leaves flour (CPL). The  composites were dried using refractance window drying technology. The proximate composition of the composite flours were determined using  standard methods while sensory acceptability of porridges was rated on a five-point Likert scale using an untrained panel. Results indicated a  significant (p < 0.05) increase in protein (10.9 to 13.4%), dietary fibre (11.01 to 13.0%) and lipids (4.71 to 5.3%) contents for cowpea-millet composite  porridge. For cowpea-maize composite flour, a significant (p < 0.05) increase in protein (5.9 to 7.6%), dietary fibre (1.47 to 3.3%) and lipids (2.84 to  3.3%) was also observed. Sensory evaluation indicated that between the two composite porridges, the cowpeamillet porridge blend was  significantly (P≤0.05) more appealing in terms of colour (3.61±0.8), aroma (2.96±0.2), taste (3.24±0.6), texture (3.62±0.6) and general acceptability  (3.61±0.8) to the panellists than the cowpea-maize porridge blend. The cowpea-millet and cowpea-maize composite flours can contribute more than  100% of the recommended dietary allowance of protein and carbohydrate requirements for children aged 0-8 years. The study findings indicate that  the cowpea-based composite flours have the potential to make a significant contribution to the improvement in the nutritional status of  infants and children in developing countries.

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eISSN: 1684-5374
print ISSN: 1684-5358