In vitro digestibility of processed and fermented soya bean, cowpea and maize

J.L. Kiers, M.J.R. Nout, F.M. Rombouts

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Tropical legumes, ie soya bean and cowpea, were pre-treated and subsequently fermented using pure cultures of Rhizopus spp. Impact of soaking, cooking and fermentation of the legumes on their digestibility was determined using an in vitro digestion method. Processing of white maize included, amongst others, natural lactic acid fermentation, cooking and saccharification using barley malt. An in vitro method was standardised to carry out comparative determinations of the dry matter digestibility of cereal and legume food samples as a function of processing conditions, without attempting to exactly mimic gastrointestinal digestion. Using this method based on upper digestive tract digestion, it was observed that digestibility of the legumes increased during cooking and fermentation. Cooking improved the total digestibility of both soya bean and cowpea from 36.5 to 44.8nd from 15.4 to 40.9␛espectively. Subsequent fungal fermentation increased total digestibility only by about 3␏or both soya bean and cowpea. Digestibility was also influenced by fungal strain and fermentation time. Cooking and subsequent saccharification using malt almost tripled total digestibility of white maize from 25.5 to 63.6°whereas lactic fermentation of maize had no effect on in vitro dry matter digestibility. Although total digestibility of cooked legumes was only slightly improved by mould fermentation (3␏or both soya bean and cowpea), the level of water-soluble dry matter of food samples increased during fermentation with Rhizopus oryzae from 7.0 up to 27.3␏or soya bean and from 4.3 up to 24.1␏or cowpea. These fermented products could therefore play a role as sources of easily available nutrients for individuals suffering from digestive disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1325-1331
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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