Effect of cowpea flour processing on the chemical properties and acceptability of a novel cowpea blended maize porridge

Theresa N. Ngoma, Ulemu K. Chimimba, Agnes M. Mwangwela, Chrissie Thakwalakwa, Kenneth M. Maleta, Mark J. Manary, Indi Trehan

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6 Scopus citations


Childhood growth stunting is a pervasive problem in Malawi and is in large part due to low quality complementary foods and chronic gut inflammation. Introducing legumes such as cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) into the complementary diet has the potential to improve childhood growth by improving diet quality through improvements in macro- and micronutrients and also by reducing gut inflammation. However, cowpea is relatively underutilized in complementary feeding in Malawi due to its strong taste, long processing time, and high energy requirements for processing. Effective utilization of cowpea in complementary feeding requires processing which may affect chemical composition as well as sensory quality. The present study evaluated the effect of processing on the retention of zinc, crude fibre, and flavonoid in roasted, boiled, and dehulled cowpea flours, and assessed the acceptability of maize porridge (70%) enriched with one of the three cowpea flours (30%). Roasting, dehulling, and boiling did not have any effect on zinc content. Crude fibre content increased after processing by all methods. Processing had no effect on measurable flavonoids. Roasted, boiled, and dehulled cowpea blended maize porridges were acceptable to children with mean quantities of leftover food of less than 3g from the given 100g. Caregivers also rated the blended flours to be highly acceptable to them as well, with maize porridge blended with dehulled cowpea flour the most acceptable to both children and caregivers. These results demonstrate that cowpea flour, processed by any of these three different methods, could serve as a useful addition to maize porridge for complementary feeding of children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0200418
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018


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