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The effect of ginger, (Zingiber officinale) Onion (Allium cepa) and bear berry (Aframomum sceptrum) on the chemical composition and microbial load of cheese was evaluated in a Completely Randomized Design. Cheese produced with 1% bear berry (Aframomum sceptrum) had the highest (P < 0.05) crude protein content of 13.58%. Addition of 1% onion to Cheese gave the least (P < 0.05) crude protein content of 13.10%. Addition of onion extract to cheese at 1%, 2% and 3% levels gave the least (P < 0.05) but similar (P > 0.05) butter fat contents in cheese being 14.23, 14.38 and 14.25% respectively. Highest butterfat contents of 14.70, 14.68, 14.75, 14.65 and 14.70% were obtained for cheese produced using 1%, 2% and 3% bear berry, 2% and 3% ginger respectively.
Addition of extract of ginger, onion and bear berry significantly (P < 0.05) reduced the total coliform, fungal and Anaerobic counts in cheese. Inclusion of bear berry at 3% level totally suppressed the growth of coliforms in cheese (0.00 cfu/g). However, it appeared that the anti microbial property of onion is the weakest especially as only 3% inclusion of onion in cheese reduced the aerobic count in cheese, being 3.0 x 103 cfu/g.
It was concluded that addition of 3% onion to cheese for adults be encouraged as it significantly (P < 0.05) reduced the butterfat content of cheese and also depressed microbial load Furthermore, inclusion of bear berry positively affected the crude protein content of cheese but gave higher butterfat content and lower microbial load and at 3% inclusion, totally inhibited the growth of coliforms. Inclusion of this spice (bear berry) in cheese should therefore be encouraged for younger men and women.
Keywords: Cheese, ginger, onion, bear berry, crude protein, butterfat microbial load, coliform.