Effects of Processing Methods and Packaging Materials on the Shelf-Life of Yellow Root Cassava Flour
Cassava is a staple crop that is consumed in almost every Community in Nigeria. It is a high perishable crop that deteriorates within few days after harvesting. Processing cassava into chips and flours reduces the moisture content to a very low level thus reducing post-harvest losses. It has been shown that biofortified yellow root cassava possesses great potential to alleviate vitamin A deficiency complementary to other interventions such as vitamin A supplementation and fortification. This study therefore, investigated the effects of processing methods and packaging materials on the shelf-life of yellow root cassava flour. Yellow root cassava (UMUCASS 36 (TMS 01/1368) was harvested, cleaned and processed into flour by chipping and grating. Flour samples obtained from each method was stored for 6 weeks in tin and black polyethylene, and evaluated weekly. Result of a preliminary study conducted on the moisture content of the raw cassava root and flour samples showed that both chipped and grated flour samples had lower moisture content (2.36% and 3.20% respectively) compared to the raw cassava root (71.63%). The results of the chemical properties of the flour samples showed no significant difference (p˃0.05) in week 0. However, the physicochemical and functional properties of the grated and chipped flour samples packaged in tin and polyethylene varied significantly from week 1 through week 6. Carotenoids retention was highest (72.1%) in chipped flour sample packaged in polyethylene. Chipped flour sample in polyethylene had the lowest mould count (34.33-66.67 cfu/g). Moisture retention was highest in grated sample packaged in both tin and polythene. The result of this study revealed that flour processed from dried chips and packaged in black polythene was the best for storage stability and longer shelf-life.
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