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Keywords:

  • Cooking banana;
  • legumes;
  • weaning food

Abstract

The possibility of processing a ready-to-eat nutrient-rich weaning food (WF) for infants within the age group of 0.5–0.9 years from cooking banana fortified with popular and affordable legumes (cowpea and peanut) was investigated with the aid of computer software and available technology in Nigeria. A composite of 47% cowpea, 40% ripe banana, and 13% peanut was processed, analyzed to compare the actual nutrient composition to that predicted by the software and that of two popular commercial WFs produced by Gerber Products Company: rice with banana (RB) and oats with banana (OB). Proximate composition was determined by Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) methods, in vitro digestibility by the pH drop method, and amino acid was determined using high performance liquid chromatography. Essential amino acid values were comparable to the predicted values. Protein and oil contents had values of 16.89% and 8.38%, 6.9% and 1.10%, and 12.03% and 3.16% for WF, RB, and OB, respectively. Octadecenoic (oleic) acid had the highest value of 3.65% followed by octadecadienoic (linoleic) acid with a value of 2.64% amounting to 76.69% of the total fatty acid. Total sugar content of WF was recorded as 15.96 g/100 g, with fructose having the highest value of 8.07 g/100 g, followed by dextrose with a value of 7.66 g/100 g. In vitro-digestibility was in the order OB>WF>RB. The results show that it is feasible to produce precooked WF which has the potential to meet the nutritional needs of an infant, from local staples using computer-assisted technique and inexpensive technology available in Nigeria.