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Joint Publications

Dynamic Oral Texture Properties of Selected Indigenous Complementary Porridges Used in African Communities

Published 21 June 2019, by Makame, J., Cronje, T., Emmambux, N.M. and De Kock, H.,

Publication: MDPI

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8060221

Child malnutrition remains a major public health problem in low-income African communities, caused by factors including the low nutritional value of indigenous/local complementary porridges (CP) fed to infants and young children. Most African children subsist on locally available starchy foods, whose oral texture is not well-characterized in relation to their sensorimotor readiness. The sensory quality of CP affects oral processing (OP) abilities in infants and young children. Unsuitable oral texture limits nutrient intake, leading to protein-energy malnutrition. The perception of the oral texture of selected African CPs (n = 13, Maize, Sorghum, Cassava, Orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP), Cowpea, and Bambara) was investigated by a trained temporal-check-all-that-apply (TCATA) panel (n = 10), alongside selected commercial porridges (n = 19). A simulated OP method (Up-Down mouth movements- munching) and a control method (lateral mouth movements- normal adult-like chewing) were used. TCATA results showed that Maize, Cassava, and Sorghum porridges were initially too thick, sticky, slimy, and pasty, and also at the end not easy to swallow even at low solids content—especially by the Up-Down method. These attributes make CPs difficult to ingest for infants given their limited OP abilities, thus, leading to limited nutrient intake, and this can contribute to malnutrition. Methods to improve the texture properties of indigenous CPs are needed to optimize infant nutrient intake.

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