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Influence of particle size fractions on the physicochemical properties of maize flour and textural characteristics of a maize-based nonfermented food gel




The physicochemical properties of fractionated maize flour and the textural characteristics of a maize-based nonfermented food gel (maize tuwo) prepared from the respective fractionated flours were evaluated. The maize flour was fractionated into four fractions: <75 μm, 75–150 μm, 150–300 μm, 300–425 μm and whole meal (<425 μm). There were variations in the selected chemical constituents of fractionated maize flour including protein (2.9–4%), ash (0.80–0.97%), crude fibre (0.73–0.91%) and damaged starch (10.1–17.4%). The fractionated maize flour gave variable bulk density (0.80–0.93 g cm−3), water absorption capacity (1.9–2.1 g g−1) and oil absorption capacity (1.7–2.1 g g−1). The colour characteristics of the fractionated maize flour and the pasting properties were all affected by the fractionation. The cohesiveness index (strain at peak compressive force) of the food gel from the flour fractions ranged between 15% and 19.5% while the softness index of the food gel ranged between 16.7 and 17.5 mm. The relative high cohesiveness and softness indexes (i.e. 19.5% and 17.4 mm respectively) of maize tuwo prepared from the flour fraction of 75–150 μm can predispose the food gel towards easier hand-mouldability and swallowability respectively; being important quality indicators for its acceptability.