Maize (Zea mays L.) is also known as corn it is the staple food in many African countries1. In West Africa it benefits particularly rural people by providing more than 10 million of permanent jobs2. Furthermore; it is a rich source of starch, protein, fat and minerals3. Economically, maize has a crucial place in the national and regional trade dealings. In addition, maize is one of the 13 sectors selected to be promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MAEP) of Benin in its Strategic Plan for Agricultural Sector Revival (PSRSA) to ensure food security and economic growth of Benin4.
Due to its acclimatizing behavior and elevated consumption, maize attained large farming area in Benin5. It is the chief crop in Benin and in 2013 the nationwide production of maize was approximately 1,345,820.9 tons6 and around 70% cultivation area and estimated 75% of cereal production was recorded4. Maize is the staple food in Southern Benin. The modes of consumption includes fresh or green product, husked grains dried and cooked, dry grains ground into flour or semolina7 which vary from region to region. Maize is utilized to produce beverages, infant food (cereals, cerealac) and animal feed (feed grain, bran, cakes and germs)7. Maize has various hybrid varieties but the nutritional aptitude of these varieties is not well understood. Semassa and colleagues designed an experiment to evaluate the nutritional composition of maize varieties present in the southern region of Benin. In this research; scientists calculated the moisture, ash, protein, fiber and fat contents as per Association of Official Analytical Chemists and American Association of Cereal Chemists methods. Sugar and organic acids were examined by employing High Performance Liquid Chromatography methods. Moreover; amino acids profile was established according to Rosen technique by utilizing glutamic acid.
Researchers classified the maize varieties into 5 groups according to their macro nutrients composition and 4 clusters based on their sugar and organic acids contents. It was observed that varieties of cluster 5 had elevated protein contents (14.34 g/100 g), while the maximum fat content (7.22 g/100 g) was noted for group 2 varieties. Moreover; the highest carbohydrate contents obtained were 80.64 g/100 g, 80.11 g/100 g and 79.15 g/100 g for groups 1, 4 and 5 varieties respectively. Varieties of groups 2, 3 and 4 had almost the same fructose concentrations between 0.04 and 0.06%; varieties of group 1 contained the maximum contents of raffinose, sucrose and glucose and group 2 had high propionate and fructose amounts. Therefore scientists concluded that glutamic acid was the predominant amino acid while the least amino acid was methionine. Varieties having rich in protein and amino acids contents might have valuable aspects by providing essential nutrients to the body.
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20 February, 2019