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Studies on the microbial ecology of fermenting maize was investigated. A good number of microbial strains were isolated from the fermenting sample after 72 hours of fermentation. Several biochemical tests like lactophenol wet mounts, catalase test, oxidase test, citrate test, indole, motility test, spore stain, sugar fermentation test as well as Gram staining were carried out to identify the organisms. From the results 5 bacterial isolates and 3 fungal isolate were obtained. The general of bacterial isolated include Lactobacillus, Micrococcus and Bacillus while the fungi isolate are of the genera; Saccharomyces and Aspergillus. The lactic acid bacteria persisted from 24 hrs to 72 hrs of the fermentation. The biochemical profile of the bacterial isolated indicated that they were responsible for the fermentation souring and off- flavors of the fermenting maize.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Akamu, also known as Ogi, is a Nigerian sour gruel made from maize. It is a fermented non-alcoholic starchy food and amajor staple food widely consumed in West Africa. (Adeniyi and Potter, 2000).
Maize (Zea Mays) is one of the cereals which is an important raw material on human diet. In Nigeria, maize is grown mainly in the southern part. Some states such as Anambra, Imo, Enugu and Abia refer to it as ‘Akamu’ but ogi is theYoruba name. On the other hand, sorghum pap is known as ‘Ogi baba’ whilemillet pap is known as ‘Ogi gero’ in Yoruba
Fermented foods and beverages constitute a significant part of the food consumed in the traditional African diet .Cereal grains are rich in carbohydrate but deficient in essential amino acid such as threonine, lysine and tryptophan , thus making their protein quality poorer compared to that of animal. This nutritional quality of Akamu suffers from its method of preparation (Horn and Schwartz, 2009). However, in recent times, germination and fermentation readopted as ways of improving cereal protein quality.
Akamu can be consumed with variety of other products including with bread, steamed bean cake (moinmoin), fried bean cake (Akara), fried yam and plantain etc. It is used as a main meal for adult and sick patients and it is suitable for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pap is widely used as the first native food given to babies at weaning to supplement breast milk and is a major breakfast cereal for preschool children and adults. It is consumed as a main mal for convalescing patients because it can easily by digested. As a weaning food, it is utilized mainly by low income earners, it is estimated that about 25million or more adult eat it about 4-5 days weekly (Banigo, 2002). Milk and Sugar may be added to improve the taste and nutritional quality. Pap is cooked and turned into a still gel called ‘Agidi’ which is similar to ‘kenkey’ a fermented Ghanian product. Some Yoruba indigenes believed that Pap is capable of stimulating the production of breast milk in Nursing mother (Bassir, 2007).
In spite of its importance in the Nigerian diet, Pap manufacture is essentially home-based. This means there are no large scale factory operation for the production of pap. The manufacture is carried out on a small scale by some house wives as a commercial venture in many parts of the country (Sanni et al., 2002).
There are several health benefits of corn pap which is locally called Ogi, Akamu or Agidi. Corn pap is 100% natural as it has no additives or artificial content (Sanni et al., 2002). Makes it a project food for people with high blood pressure. The water content in corn pap helps to supply the daily water requirement. That is why nursing mothers take it to help the easy flow or breast milk (Teniola and Odunfa, 2002). Corn pap sis easy to digest because it has a fine texture makes it exert little stress on the digestive system. It is a project food for athletes and footballers (Adeniyi and Potter, 2000). It retains more nutrient because it does not undergo long processing. It is also a nutritious food plant which is a good source of carbohydrate, B vitamins (pantothenic acid –B5, Niacin-B3, Riboflavin and thiamin-B1) folic acid, vitamin A and c, potassium, Chromium, selenium, Zinc phosphorus, magnesium and many other (Bassir, 2007).
Corn oil is very healthy and good for the heart. Scientifically known as zeamays, corn is the basis of a let of dishes used as main meals, but is also a popular snack in Nigeria. The dishes made from corn are used in all meals of the day (Sanni et al., 2002).
AIM: Microbial assessment of bacteria and fungi associated with Akamu production.
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