Meet the VEG-i-TEC researcher: Doyinsola Adeleke


Can a nutritious, safe and reduced viscosity infant complementary food product be developed to address malnutrition in sub-Sahara Africa (South Africa)?

DoyinsolaPhD researcher Doyinsola Adeleke is working on the development and quality evaluation of a reduced viscosity infant complementary food using a combination of corn/maize, soybean and orange-fleshed sweet potato.

Acute malnutrition (including moderate and severe types) is still a major cause of child mortality. Starchy cereals, roots and tubers are the staple foods of people in sub-Saharan African and the monotony of starch possibly explains the lack of protein and micronutrients in the diets of children, leading to malnutrition.Also, there is difficulty for infants to consume cereal-based complementary foods due to the high starch content of cereal based formula that results in a high viscosity of the resulting reconstituted porridge, because large amounts of water are bound by the starchy structure.

In this project, a complementary food is developed from local crops that are grown in South Africa which are:  maize (Zea mays), soybean (Glycine max) and orange-fleshed sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.), with maize as major source of carbohydrates, soybean of protein and fat, and sweet potato for its β-carotene content and additional carbohydrates. The maize-soybean-sweet potato complementary food blend was formulated based on the nutritional composition of the individual flours. Non-inoculated and inoculated fermentation technology using monoculture strains of different pure lactic acid bacteria was used for viscosity reduction of the formulated blend. After which, nutritional parameters were determined while also looking into the organic acids produced in the fermented blends.

This project is supervised by Prof Sam Van Haute and Prof Imca Sampers.

This research is funded by Bijzonder Onderzoeksfonds-Special Research Fund (BOF), Ghent University, Belgium.