Physical losses could partially explain modest carotenoid retention in dried food products from biofortified cassava.
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Gari, a fermented and dried semolina made from cassava, is one of the most common foods in West Africa. Recently introduced biofortified yellow cassava containing provitamin A carotenoids could help tackle vitamin A deficiency prevalent in those areas. However there are concerns because of the low retention of carotenoids during gari processing compared to other processes (e.g. boiling). The aim of the study was to assess the levels of true retention in trans-8-carotene during gari processing and investigate the causes of low retention. Influence of processing step, processor (3 commercial processors) and variety (TMS 01/1371; 01/1368 and 01/1412) were assessed. It was shown that low true retention (46% on average) during gari processing may be explained by not only chemical losses (i.e. due to roasting temperature) but also by physical losses (i.e. due to leaching of carotenoids in discarded liquids): true retention in the liquid lost from grating negatively correlated with true retention retained in the mash (R =-0.914). Moreover, true retention followed the same pattern as lost water at the different processing steps (i.e. for the commercial processors). Variety had a significant influence on true retention, carotenoid content, and trans-cis isomerisation but the processor type had little effect. It is the first time that the importance of physical carotenoid losses was demonstrated during processing of biofortified crops.
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