Dairy milk is an indispensable food for the nourishment of animals and man due to its treasured nutritional content and thus remains an important part of daily meals. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the microbial and sensory properties of canned Tigernut milk. The Tigernut were sorted, washed and divided into three batches for further processing. Cans were filled with 100 mL of the Tigernut milk produced and double seams made using a metal box 1 seamer. Retorting was done at 121 °C for 15 min. Microbial assay was carried out for 8 weeks to determine the total viable count of microorganisms in the canned Tigernut milk. The assessment of the microbial load of the products over the 8-week storage period showed results exhibiting similar trend as observed for the hourly study. The microbial loads over the storage period had no significant increase in load over time for some of the product formulations. Others however recorded some microbial growth with increasing counts over time. Even though the shelf life cannot be accurately predicted from such observation, an emphatic conclusion of the shelf stability of the product being far beyond an 8-week period can be ascertained. Microwaving as a method was seen to have resulted in producing sweet-smelling compounds leading to a higher preference over the other samples. Sensory evaluation was done. The results showed that the processing methods variably affected the various sensory attributes with no significant differences recorded for smell (p < 0.05). The cooked and microwaved samples were the most preferred for all the given attributes over the other samples. However, consumer preference had a slight shift towards the cooked sample in terms of overall acceptability. The microbial storage profile showed no growth up to the seventh week of storage for all samples.

1.1 Background
Research continues to provide information on the links between dietary pattern and health. Diabetes, obesity and stroke are some conditions that have been strongly linked with diet. As a result, many consumers are shifting towards plant-based diets. A number of plant-based diets are now receiving considerable attention because of their reported health benefits. This includes plant-based milks such as soymilk, coconut milk, almond milk and Tigernut milk Beaulieu, J. C. et al, 2007). Makinen et al. (2016) defined plant-based milk as aqueous extracts that have an appearance like that of cow’s milk and result from the homogenisation of plant sources.

Consumer’s choice of plant-based milk is driven mainly by the prevalence of lactose (Lomer et al., 2008). Ethical considerations by animal rights’ activists and vegetarians against animal products is also increasing the movement of consumers towards plant-based milks (Jeske et al., 2015). Plant-based milks such as soymilk, quinoa milk, flax milk, oat milk, hazelnut milk exist on the market (Kim et al., 2012). Soymilk has the biggest market share of these (Mintel Group, 2011). According to Jeske et al. (2015), about 14% of people who have allergic reactions to cow’s milk are allergic to soy products as well. This presents a huge market base for emerging products such as Tigernut milk.

Tigernut is widespread across the world and considered as a weed in some countries (DeFelice, 2002). It is cultivated in many parts of Ghana in commercial quantities for its edible tubers and for the purposes of medication (Sanful, 2009). Tigernut are mainly composed of carbohydrate and fats, with a low protein content (Oladele and Aina 2007; Ekeanyanwu and Ononogbu, 2010; Codina-Torella et al., 2014). Tigernut milk also known as ‘atadwe milk’ in Ghana. It is a water extract of Tigernut and may be consumed sweetened or unsweetened.

Tigernut milk is however highly perishable and is characterized by a relatively shorter shelf life. The milk is often consumed immediately after production. Canning over the years has proven to be an effective and efficient for long time preservation of milk products. The technique has been typically defined as a method of food preservation which involves an initial sealing of the food in air-tight jars, cans or pouches, followed by subsequent heating to a temperature that destroys microorganisms that poses health risk or reserves spoilage potential (Huang et al., 2016). Thus, the objective of the study is to investigate the potential canning on the shelf stability of newly developed Tigernut milk beverages.

1.2 Problem Statement and Justification
In Ghana, Tigernut (Cyperus esculentus) is an edible perennial grass-like plant of the Sedge family. It is widely used for human and animal consumption as a nutritious food and feed in Africa, Europe and America (Belewu, et al., 2007). About 1.3 million cases of active diarrhoea in children less than five years in the developing world due to contaminated milk (Belloin, 1988). Milk contains a natural inhibitory system which prevents a significant rise in the bacteria count during the first 2 -3 h and if it is cooled within this period to 4 C,̊ it maintains nearly its original quality. Timely cooling ensures that the quality of the milk remains good for processing and consumption (Asekan, et al., 2012). However, in rural places where there is no refrigerator facility people use traditional approaches to maintain the quality and safety of milk. Tigernut can be eaten raw, roasted, dried, baked or made into a refreshing beverage, which is very nutritive, healthy for both the young, and old. There were many attempts to industrialize the locally prepared Tigernut beverage, but the inability to preserve the drink for a long time without spoilage has been a major drawback (Chukwu, et al., 2013). Therefore, evaluating the Microbial and Sensory Properties of Canned Tigernut Milk are the major objectives of this research study.

1.3 Objectives
The objective of this study was to evaluate the microbial and sensory properties of canned Tigernut milk.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Topic  |  Size: 57 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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