Molar ratio -a predictor of calcium and trace minerals availability from fonio (Digitaria exilis) and ricebean (Vigna umbellata) based complementary foods
Background: Micronutrient malnutrition is a public health problem believed to occur even among higher income group. The major cause being poor bioavailability of minerals from plant foods.
Objective: This study ascertained the micronutrient (vitamin A, iron, iodine and zinc) and molar ratio of calcium and trace minerals (iron, iodine and zinc) in four complementary diets formulated with fonio and ricebean.
Methods: The study was carried out using 3x4x4 factorial design. Provitamin A, calcium, iron, zinc and iodine contents were determined using standard methods. Molar ratio of the minerals was determined using calculation method. Data was analysed using SPSS version 17.0 and means separated with Duncan's new multiple range test at p<0.05 level of significance.
Results: Vitamin A and iodine were high in fonibean plus (FNBP) (226.1 and 60.14mg/100g) respectively, fonibean untreated (FNBU) (246.4 and 60.28mg/100g) and fonibean normal (FNBN) (214.3 and 56.31mg/100g) and low in fonibean minus (FNBM) (97.8 and 2.69mg/100g). The level of calcium in the FNBN (396.47mg/100g), FNBP (413.8mg/100g) and FNBU (412.32 mg/100 g) were significantly (p<0.05) higher than 400mg/100g recommended for complementary foods. Iron(6.77-8.30mg/100g) and zinc(4.32-4.85 mg/100g) contents of the formulations were significantly (p<0.05) lower than 14mg (iron) and 8.3mg (zinc) per 100g recommended for fortified complementary foods. Calcium and trace minerals had significantly (p<0.05) lower molar ratio values than their suggested desirable levels.
Conclusion: The very low molar ratio values obtained for calcium and trace minerals in the composites suggested high availability of the nutrients.
Keywords: Fonio, ricebean, micronutrient, complementary food, desirable