Pearl millet is a staple food in Namibia. It is milled into flour by traditional and industrial dry milling processes. This research was conducted to help determine how to improve the nutritional value and acceptability of pearl millet. The traditional milling process involves a lactic acid fermentation step which lowers the pH of kernels. The effects of the traditional Namibian and industrial “dry milling” processes on the physical and nutritional composition of pearl millet grain were compared. Additionally, the effect of steeping three different Namibian pearl millet varieties (Kangara, Kantana and Okashana 2) in lactic acid and water on the colour and the phenolic content of the flour were determined. Regarding comparing the milling processes, variety Kangara was conditioned and decorticated traditionally with a pestle and mortar and industrially with an abrasive decorticator. The traditional decorticated grain was steeped and sun dried for 24 h before hammer milling, whereas the industrially decorticated grain was roller milled. Tristimulus colorimetry and proximate analyses were conducted on the samples. Concerning acid steeping, kernels were steeped in a pH 3.5 solution and in water as a control. Colour, total polyphenol and c-glycosyl flavone contents were determined. The determination of cglycosylflavone content was particularly important because these compounds are considered goitrogenic. The traditionally milled flour was lighter in colour than industrial milled flour. However, it was significantly lower in protein, ash and c-glycosyl flavone contents in comparison to industrial milled flour. This was due to the removal of more pericarp and germ in the traditional process. The industrial dry milling process therefore produces flour with a higher nutrient content in terms of protein, fat and minerals. However, the traditional Namibian milling process makes the colour of the pearl millet flour lighter, which is probably the reason that it is more acceptable to consumers. Kernels steeped in a lactic acid solution were lighter in colour than those steeped in water. Irrespective of the steeping media, the total polyphenol content was significantly lower in steeped kernels compared to those unsteeped. A similar trend was observed for the cglycosyl flavone content. This indicates that some of these compounds may have leached out during steeping. For all varieties, kernels steeped in lactic acid had a significantly higher total polyphenol content than those in water, probably due to the dissociation of metal-polyphenol complexes in the acidic medium whereby these polyphenols became free and available for measurement. Thus, steeping in a lactic acid solution can lead to better colour improvement of kernels compared to steeping in water. Thus, lactic acid steeping can improve the sensory quality of pearl millet products. An industrial process can thus be designed to include tempering the grain with food grade lactic acid to produce sour taste and leach out the colour pigments, particularly the cglycosyl flavones hence lightening the colour of the industrial milled flour. This produces a product with high nutritional content, lighter in colour and has the sour taste that consumers find appealing. Copyright 2007, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria. Please cite as follows: Barrion, SC 2007, Pearl millet milling : comparison between traditional Namibian fermentation - semi-wet milling and dry milling, MSc(Agric) dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-01282009-132241 / > E1209/gm
Dissertation (MSc(Agric))--University of Pretoria, 2009.