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ISSN: 1579-4377 COOKING TIME AND STEEPING TIME EFFECTS ON THE CYANIDE CONTENT AND SENSORY QUALITY

ISSN: 1579-4377

COOKING TIME AND STEEPING TIME EFFECTS ON THE CYANIDE CONTENT AND SENSORY QUALITY OF CASSAVA SLICES

Christian Agatemor* *Department of Chemistry Faculty of Physical Sciences, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria christmuno@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT

The effect of different cooking times and steeping times on the cyanide content, colour and flavour of cassava slices were evaluated. The cassava slices were prepared in accordance with conventional method used by consumers. The cyanide content determined with the aid of picrate paper kit B2 and the colour and flavour evaluation assessed on a 5-point hedonic scale by a 20-member panel. The preparation of the slices were carried out under different cooking times (20 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes, 50 minutes, 60 minutes) and steeping times (12 hours, 15 hours, 18 hours, 21 hours, 24 hours). The results showed that increasing cooking and steeping times reduced cyanide content and adversely affected colour. The results also suggested that 40 minutes and 18 hours of cooking and steeping, respectively, were the optimum cooking and steeping times.

KEYWORDS

Cassava, cooking time, cyanide, colour, flavour, slices, steeping time.

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INTRODUCTION

Cassava (Manihot esculenta, Crantz) root is an important staple food for 0.5- 1.0 billion people in the tropics (FAOSTAT). It is a great contributor of calories as 60% of the daily calorific needs of populations in tropical Africa, Central America, and Asia is provided by cassava root (Kobawila et al., 2005) Cassava root is usually processed into various products in the tropics. These products include garri (Adindu and Aprioku, 2006), cassava fufu (Oyebanji, 2004) cooked cassava slices or chips (Adindu, 2007) Cooked cassava slices is processed by peeling the root, washing the peeled root in water and cooking the washed root for 20-30 minutes (Adindu, 2007). The cooked root is cut into thin slices and steeped in water over night. The slices are washed with water to removed slimy material on slices and then sun-dried before eaten. The cassava slices is popular among populations in tropical Africa, where it is eaten as snack. The cassava root is rich in cyanide in the form of cyanogenic glucoside known as linamarine and lotaustraline (Dunstan et al., 1996). The cyanogenic glucosides can be hydrolysed by endogenous or microbial linamarase. This hydrolysis releases cyanhydric acid, which is toxic. Besides, unhydrolysed linamarine in cassava root and products of the hydrolysis constitute a health threat to consumers (Akintonwa et al., 1994). In fact, chronic, continuous ingestion of cyanogens either in the form of nondetoxified cassava products is associated with diseases such as acute intoxication, goiter, konzo and tropical ataxic neuropathy (TAN) (Cliff, 1994). Most of the processing technologies for the production of cassava products eliminate some amount of the cyanogenic glucosides in the cassava roots. The residual cyanogenic glucosides could be present at health-relevant concentrations, which could pose a serious health threat to consumers. It is on this ground that this study was conducted. This present study seeks to investigate the total residual cyanide in cassava slices as a function of cooking and steeping time. Apart from the levels of residual cyanide investigated, sensory characteristics such as colour, aroma and taste were also monitored with respect to cooking and steeping time. The results of the study will provide the consumers of cassava slices information on the optimum cooking and steeping periods as literature search reveals the absence of such information.

MATERIAL AND METHODS

Preparation of cassava slices 12-month-old freshly harvested cassava roots were obtained from a local farm in Benin City, Nigeria in July 2007. The roots were transported to the laboratory in a jutes bag. Damaged roots were eliminated. The roots were peeled and washed in cleaned tap water to removed dirt. The washed cassava roots were boiled in tap water for 20 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, the cooking water was removed and the roots were cut into thin slices. The slices were steeped in water for 12 hours before analyses. Different cassava slices were prepared by varying the cooking time (30 minutes, 40 minutes, 50 minutes, and 60 minutes) and the steeping time (15 hours, 18 hours, 21 hours, and 24 hours).

Analyses Cyanide content was determined on dried powdered cassava slices with the aid of a picrate paper kit B2 (Bradbury et al., 1999; Egan et al., 1998). The method involved the immobilization of linamarase in a small filter paper disc. Phosphate buffer at pH 8 was also

Agatemor et al. EJEAFChe, 8 (3), 2009. [189-194]

loaded on the filter paper. The disc was placed in a small flat bottom bottle. A 100 mg of the test sample was added to the filter paper and 0.5 ml of distilled water was added. This was followed immediately by the insertion of a yellow picrate paper attached to a plastic strip to the bottle. Care was taken to ensure that the picrate paper did not touch the test sample. The bottle was closed with a screw lid immediately after insertion of picrate paper and allowed to stand for 16 – 24 hours at room temperature. The picrate paper was removed and immersed in 5 ml distilled water in a test tube with occasional stirring for 30 minutes. An unreacted picrate paper was taken as blank. The absorbance of the solution was measured against the blank with a Bausch and Lomb spectronic 20 spectrophotometer at 510 nm. The cyanide content, in ppm, was obtained by multiplying the absorbance by 396. The analysis was also carried out by replacing the test sample with a standard linamarine discs prepared by adding a amount of linamarine solution to a small 3 mm filter paper and allowing the filter paper to dry (Bradbury et al., 1999; Egan et al., 1998) and the remainder of the method followed that given above. Sensory attributes (colour and flavour) were evaluated on a 5-point hedonic scale (where 1 = dislike extremely and 5 = like extremely) by 20 panelists selected from the Department of Chemistry, University of Benin’s student and staff population who consume cassava slices. The sensory evaluation was performed in the mid-morning under white light in an airy room. The samples were served in polypropylene transparent plates, which had been labeled with a 3 – digit random number. Questionnaires and clean tap water to rinse the mouth between each tasting were provided for the panelists. Prior to evaluation, a pre- evaluation session was held in which the meaning of each attribute (colour and flavour) was explained to the panelists to avoid misinterpretation (Kilcast and Subramanian, 2000). The panelists were not allowed to discuss their scores with one another during the evaluation session. Another set of cassava slices were evaluated as second and third replicates on the second and third day, respectively. Sensory evaluation data were presented as means of panelists’ scores.

Statistical analysis Experimental data were tested by ANOVA (Minitab 10.0, Release 7.1, Minitab, Inc., State College, PA, USA) and mean separation was achieved by using Duncan’s multiple range test.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The results of the total cyanide content determination and sensory evaluation are presented in Tables 1 – 3. The total cyanide content of the raw, uncooked cassava was also determined and found to be 580 ± 15 ppm. The three major processing techniques employed in the processing of cassava slices are cooking, soaking in water (steeping) and sun drying (Oluwole et al., 2004). Cooking of cassava reduces the cyanide content. Cooke and Maduagwu (1985) reported a 90% reduction of free cyanide and a 55% reduction of bound cyanide by the cooking of cassava (Cooke and Maduagwu, 1999). It was also reported that cooking destroyed the enzyme, linamarase, at about 72 0 C thus leaving a considerable portion of linamarine and lotaustraline in the cooked cassava (Cooke and Maduagwu, 1999). High levels of cyanide in cassava have been implicated in a number of health disorders (Oyebanji, 2004; Bradbury, 2004) The results in Table 1 show a statistically significant reduction (P < 0.05) in the cyanide content of the slices as a result of cooking. After 40 minutes of cooking,

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there was over 90% reduction in total cyanide content of the slices (Table 1). The results as presented in Table 1 also show that the cyanide reducing effect of cooking was further enhanced by steeping the slices in water. Previous workers had shown that soaking cassava in water removes about 20% of free cyanide while bound cyanide is only negligibly reduced (Cooke and Maduagwu, 1999). The results of this present study concord with the reports of previous workers because the total cyanide (free and bound) was reduced by over 90% as a result of cooking and steeping in water [13]. The FAO/WHO safe standard for cyanide is 10 ppm (FAO/WHO, 1999)]; after 40 minutes of cooking and 18 hours of steeping, the level of cyanide in the slices was significantly (P < 0.05) reduced to FAO/WHO safe levels (Table

1).

Table 1: Effect of cooking and steeping times on cyanide content of cassava slices

 

12

hours

15 hours

18 hours

21 hrs

24 hours

20

mins

437 ± 15 AA

310 ± 10 AB

243 ± 12 AC

200 ± 20 AC

140 ± 17 AD

30

mins

333 ± 15 BA

267 ± 15 AB

200 ± 20 AC

170 ± 17 AC

90 ± 10 BD

40

mins

51 ± 3 CA

27 ± 6 BB

9 ± 1 BC

9 ± 1 BC

9 ± 1 CC

50

mins

48 ± 7 CA

25 ± 5 BB

7 ± 1 BC

7 ± 1 BC

8 ± 1 CC

60

mins

46 ± 6 CA

23 ± 6 BB

6 ± 1 BC

7 ± 1 BC

6 ± 1 CC

Similar letters are not significantly different from each other; different letters are significantly different from each other.

Colour and flavour are among the most important characteristics of food because they are attributes the consumers can readily assessed; in fact, they play a significant role in food acceptability. Of the three processing techniques used in processing cassava slices, cooking and steeping play an important role in influencing colour and flavour. This is because the process of cooking, for instance, can inactivate enzymes which can cause flavour, textural and colour changes in food (Salunkhe, 1991). Cooking also set the colour and removes raw flavour form food (Salunkhe, 1991). In fact, cooking as a food processing technique is aimed at improving the organoleptic qualities of food. The soaking of the cassava slices in water, which is technically termed steeping results in the development of slimy material on slices (Adindu, 2007), which adversely affect the colour of the slices. The steeping also enhances the microbiological safety and storability of the slices (Salunkhe, 1991; Onabowale, 1998). The results of the sensory evaluation show a decrease in the colour quality with increasing cooking and steeping times. It is worth reporting that this decrease did not follow a particular trend (Table 2). The decrease in colour may be attributed to hydrolysis of the polysaccharides, such as starch, to oligosaccharides, disaccharides and monosaccharide. The slimy material on the slices after soaking could also contribute to the decrease in colour quality. The results also indicated that the decrease in colour was significant (P < 0.05) only at and after 40 minutes of cooking and 18 hours of steeping (Table 2).

 

Table 2: Effect of cooking and steeping times on colour of cassava slices

 
 

12

hours

15 hours

18 hours

21 hours

24 hours

20

mins

3.40 ± 0.60 A

3.10 ± 0.72 A

3.00 ± 0.73 AB

2.25 ± 0.64 B

1.85 ± 0.59 B

30

mins

2.90 ± 0.85 A

2.75 ± 0.64 A

2.45 ± 0.51 A

2.15 ± 0.37 B

1.70 ± 0.47 B

40

mins

2.75 ± 0.55 AB

2.65 ± 0.67 A

2.60 ± 0.68 AB

1.75 ± 0.44 BC

1.45 ± 0.51 B

50

mins

2.60 ± 0.50 AB

2.60 ± 0.50 AB

2.30 ± 0.73 AB

1.70 ± 0.57 BC

1.30 ± 0.47 BC

60

mins

2.50 ± 0.51 AB

2.25 ± 0.44 AB

2.11 ± 0.81 B

1.50 ± 0.51 BC

1.21 ± 0.41 BC

Similar letters are not significantly different from each other; different letters are significantly different from

each other.

Agatemor et al. EJEAFChe, 8 (3), 2009. [189-194]

Table 3: Effect of cooking and steeping times on flavour of cassava slices

 

12 hours

15 hours

18 hours

21 hours

24 hours

20

mins

2.55 ± 0.51 A

2.70 ± 0.47 A

3.20 ± 0.77 B

3.00 ± 0.56 B

2.70 ± 0.47 A

30

mins

2.60 ± 0.50 A

2.70 ± 0.47 A

3.20 ± 0.70 B

2.75 ± 0.85 B

2.60 ± 0.50 A

40

mins

2.65 ± 0.49 A

2.40 ± 0.50 A

3.45 ± 0.51 B

2.25 ± 0.44 C

2.00 ± 0.65 C

50

mins

2.30 ± 0.47 A

2.60 ± 0.50 A

2.75 ± 0.44 B

2.40 ± 0.50 A

1.65 ± 0.49 C

60

mins

2.35 ± 0.49 A

2.45 ± 0.51 A

2.35 ± 0.49 A

2.40 ± 0.50 A

1.45 ± 0.51 C

Similar letters are not significantly different from each other; different letters are significantly different from each other.

The hydrolysis of the polysaccharides to smaller units could also explain the increase in flavour quality of the slices. At 12 hours of steeping, the best flavour was obtained at 40 minutes of cooking. The contrasted the results obtained at 15 hours of steeping, where the lowest flavour quality was obtained at 40 minutes of cooking. The best flavour quality was recorded at 18 hours of steeping and 40 mins of cooking. This improvement in flavour at 18 hours of steeping and 40 minutes of cooking could be associated with the removal of cyanide. Table 1 indicated that after 18 hours of steeping and 4 minutes of cooking, the cyanide content was significantly reduced to a safe limit. Cyanide if present at high levels could impart undesirable flavour on the slices (Cooke and Maduagwu, 1999).

CONCLUSION The results of this study show that increasing cooking and steeping time during processing of cassava slices could reduce cyanide content and adversely affect colour. The results also show that the effect of cooking and steeping times on flavour of slices did not follow a particular trend but the best flavour was obtained at 18 hours of steeping and 40 minutes of cooking. This suggests that the optimum cooking and steeping times were 40 minutes and 18 hours, respectively. At these times, the cyanide content was significantly reduced to a safe level, the flavour was at its best and the colour could be regarded as good.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The author wish to express his profound gratitude to Dr. J. H. Bradbury of the School of Botany and Zoology, Australian National University, Canberra, for providing the picrate paper kit B2.

REFERENCES

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