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Development of Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L.) Inulin extruded Snacks and Evaluation of their Prebiotic and Safety Potentials

Author(s): Uchenna Umeonuorah, Gibson Arueya, Temitope Ogunbanwo, Yetunde Ogunremi

Food industries are currently facing the challenge of meeting consumers’ demand for functional foods that provide additional health benefits. Development of appropriate extruded food snacks with inulin inclusion and its associated prebiotic benefits has not be fully exploited. This work is therefore aimed at bridging this gap. Okra pod (Abelmoschus esculentus L) inulin was blended with rice flour and other raw material inputs (sugar, salt, fat and water). These were subjected to extrusion conditions (feed rate: 300g/min, barrel temperature: 125oC and internal pressure: 20.5x10-5N/M2) for 30min. Thereafter, the extrudates were air cooled at room temperature. The resulting extrudates were subjected to bifidogenic invitro analysis using pure probiotic organisms (Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus bulgaricus) and safety analyses using animal studies (wistar rats n=50). There were no significant differences (P<0.05) on the percentage weight gain of the experimental animals. Wistar rats fed with experimental snack samples showed progressive weight gain compared with the ones fed with control sample. Mean haemoglobin values were between 15.57mg/dl and 16.93mg/dl indicating that the snack samples are safe for human consumption. Generally, the developed snack samples were proved to have prebiotic potentials as they enhanced the growth of Bifidobacterial bifidum and Lactobacillus bulgaricus bacteria thrice more than the control sample.

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