Preservation of yams by gamma radiation
Loss of yam in storage due to sprouting is very high. There is the need to investigate the possibility of inhibiting the sprouting of local varieties of yams using gamma radiation. The effect of radiation on the storage yams and the functionality of the irradiated yams in the Ghanaian food system was studied. Yams were purchased from a farm in Nkwanta. Some of the yams were irradiated at an average dose of 120 Gy and a dose rate of 114 Gy/hr. The irradiated yams were stored alongside unirradiated controls in a specially constructed barn and on the ground as is traditionally done by the farmers at ambient temperature for 6 months. The stored yams were processed into some local food products, namely, boiled yam, fried yam and fufu and sensory evaluation carried out on them using the Hedonic Scale Test and analysed by Analysis of variance. Results indicated that all the unirradiated yams sprouted by the 3rd month of storage. 6.2% of the irradiated yams stored on the barn and 18.0% of those stored on the ground sprouted. 2.26% irradiated and 8.0% unirradiated yams stored on the barn compared to 22.0% and 12.0% respectively of the yams stored on the ground got rotten within the storage period. Food products made from irradiated yams were preferred to those made from the unirradiated yams in terms of texture, taste, colour and general acceptability. The results suggest that gamma radiation dose of 120 Gy effectively inhibited the sprouting of yams for 6 months under tropical ambient conditions. There was less rotting in the yams stored in the barn compared to those stored on the ground. There was also less rotting in the irradiated yams stored in the barn in comparison with the unirradiated ones. Food products made from irradiated yams were judged better in quality than those made from the unirradiated ones.
JOURNAL OF THE GHANA SCIENCE ASSOCIATION Volume 1 Number 3, July (1999) pp. 100-103