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Microbiology and Biotechnology Letters


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Fermentation Microbiology (FM)  |  Food Biotechnology and Food Processing

Microbiol. Biotechnol. Lett. 2021; 49(2): 192-200

Received: June 16, 2020; Accepted: December 23, 2020

Role of Organic Spices in the Preservation of Traditionally Fermented Kunun-zaki

Williana, N. Mokoshe, Babasola, A. Osopale, Cajethan, O. Ezeamagu, and Stephen O. Fapohunda*

Department of Microbiology, School of Science and Technology, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria

Correspondence to :
Stephen O. Fapohunda,

Kunun-zaki, produced by submerged fermentation of a combination of millet and sorghum, is a popular beverage in Northern Nigeria. Owing to the nature of the process involved in its production, kunun-zaki is highly susceptible to contamination by food spoilage microorganisms, leading to inconsistent quality and short shelf-life. In this study, we investigated various food spices, including cinnamon, garlic, and nutmeg, as potential preservatives that could be used to extend kunun-zaki shelf-life. Kunun-zaki varieties were fermented with each of these spices mentioned above and subjected to bacterial, nutritional, sensory, and quality maintenance assessments (using a twelve-member sensory panel to evaluate the organoleptic properties of kunun-zaki). Bacterial counts in the final products ranged between 105-7 CFU/ml. We identified two bacterial genera, Weissella and Enterococcus, based on partial 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Three amino acids, namely leucine, aspartate, and glutamate, were abundant in all kunun-zaki varieties, while the total essential amino acid content was above 39%, suggesting that kunun-zaki could potentially be considered as a protein-rich food source both for infants and adults. The kunun-zaki products were also rich in carbohydrates, crude proteins, ash, crude fiber, and fat, with contents estimated as 81-84, 8-11, 0.8-4.0, 2.9- 3.58, and 5.1-6.3%, respectively. However, this nutritional content depreciated rapidly after 24 h of storage, except for kunun-zaki fermented with garlic, which its crude protein and fat content was maintained for up to 48 h. Our results revealed that organic spices increased the nutritional content of the kunun-zaki varieties and could be potentially be used as natural preservatives for enhancing the kunun-zaki shelf-life. However, garlic might be considered a better alternative based on our preliminary investigation. The presence of the isolated microorganisms in the analyzed kunun-zaki samples should be highlighted to raise awareness on the possible health hazards that could arise from poor handling and processing techniques.

Keywords: Kunun-zaki, food spices, shelf-life

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