COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ASH AND MOISTURE CONTENTS OF RIPE AND UN-RIPE PLANTAIN (Musa Paradisiaca)

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ASH AND MOISTURE CONTENTS  OF RIPE AND UN-RIPE PLANTAIN (Musa Paradisiaca)

ABSTRACT

The results of the ash and moisture contents, of ripe and unripe plantain showed that ripe plantain had 57% of moisture and 10% of ash contents. Also unripe plantain had moisture content of 50% and 10% ash contents. Meanwhile, both ripe and unripe plantain had comparatively high moisture contents, but the moisture content of ripe plantain was slightly higher by 7%. Also, the ash content of ripe plantain is higher than that of unripe plantain by 5%.

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Fruits and vegetables are important components of a healthy diet. Some fruits like plantain offer great nutritional benefits. This is partly because it aid in the body’s retention of calcium, nitrogen and phosphorus, all of which work to build healthy and regenerated tissues (Sullivan and Carpenter 1993). The proximate composition of any foodstuff represents the moisture, crude protein, fat, minerals, crude fiber and carbohydrate which taken together on percent basis. Proximate analysis also known as Weende analysis is a chemical method of assessing and expressing the nutritional value of a feed which reports the moisture, ash (minerals), crude fibre, crude fat and crude protein (total nitrogen) presents in a food as a percentage of dry weight. The proximate analysis gives the overall nutritional composition of the sample in question. This is briefly complemented by anti-nutrient and mineral composition of the sample (Brady, 1970).

The proximate system for routine analysis of animal feedstuff was devised in the mid-nineteenth century at the Weende Experiment station in Germany (Henneberg and Stohmann, 2004). It developed to provide a top level, very broad, classification of food components. The system consists of the analytical determinations of water (moisture), ash, crude fat (ether extract), crude protein and crude fibre.

ASH CONTENT IN FOOD

Ash or mineral content is the portion of the food or any organic materials that remains after it is burned at very high temperature (Ayoola, 2011). The ash constituents include potassium, calcium and magnesium, which are present in larger amounts as well as smaller quantities of aluminum, Iron, copper, manganese, Zinc, arsenic, Iodine, Fluorine and other elements present in traces (Ajayi and Mbah, 2003). Ash content represents the total mineral content in foods. Although minerals represent a small proportion of dry matter, often less than 7% of the total, they play an important role from a physiochemical, technological and nutritional point of view. In analytical chemistry, ashing is the process of mineralization for concentration of trace substances prior to chemical  analysis. Ash is the name given to all non-aqueous residue that remains after sample is burned, which consist mostly of metal oxides. Ash is one of the components in the proximate analysis of biological materials, consisting mainly of salty inorganic constituents. It includes metal salts which are important for processes requiring irons such as Na+ (Sodium), K+ (Potassium), and Ca2+ (Calcium). It also includes trace minerals which are required for unique molecules, such as chlorophyll and hemoglobin.

DETERMINATION OF ASH CONTENT

Analytical techniques for providing information about the total minerals content are based on the fact that the minerals (the analyte) can be distinguished from all the other components (the matrix) within a food in some measurable way. The main types of analytical procedures used to determine the ash content of foods are based on these principles: dry ashing, wet ashing and low temperature plasma dry ashing. The method chosen for a particular analysis depends on the reason for carrying out the analysis, the type of food analyzed and the equipment available.

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DRY ASHING

Dry ashing procedures use a high temperature muffle furnace capable of maintaining temperature between 5000C and 6000c. Water and other volatile materials are vaporized and organic substances are burned in the presence of the oxygen in air to Co2, H2O and N2. The minerals are converted to oxides, sulfates, phosphates, chlorides or silicates. Although most minerals have fairly low volatility at these high temperatures, some are volatile and may be partially lost, example, iron, lead and mercury. If an analysis is being carried out to determine the concentration of one of these substances, then it is advisable to use an alternative ashing method that uses lower temperatures. The food sample is weighed before and after ashing to determine the concentration of ash present. The ash content can be expressed on either a dry or wet basis:

% Ash (dry basis) = Mash   X  100

Mwet         1

Where Mash refers to the mass of the ashed sample, Mdry and Mwet refers to the original masses of the dried and wet sample.

WET ASHING

Wet ashing is primarily used in the preparation of samples for subsequent analysis of specific minerals. It break down and removes the organic matrix surrounding the minerals so that they are left in an aqueous solution. A dried ground food sample is usually weighed into a flask containing strong acids and oxidizing agents (e.g. nitric, perchloric and sulfuric acids) and then heated. Heating is continued until the organic matter is completely digested, leaving only the mineral oxides in solution. The temperature and time used depends on the type of acids and oxidizing agent used. Typically, a digestion takes from 10 minutes to a few hours at temperatures of about 3500c. The resulting solution can then be analyzed for specific minerals.

LOW TEMPERATURE PLASMA ASHING

This is a type of ashing where a sample is placed into a glass chamber which is evacuated using a vacuum pump. A small amount of oxygen is pumped into the chamber and broken down to nascent oxygen by application of an electromagnetic radio frequency field. The organic matter in the sample is rapidly oxidized by the nascent oxygen (O2 2O) and the moisture is evaporated because of the elevated temperatures. The relatively cool temperature (<1500c) used in low temperature plasma ashing causes less loss of volatile minerals than other methods.

MOISTURE CONTENT

Moisture content is values of water contained in a given sample. It remains an essential constituent in food composition databases because water content is one of the most variable components, especially in plant food. This variability affects the composition of food as a whole (Egan et al., 1997). Moisture content is determined by the loss in weight that occurs when a sample is dried to a constant weight in an oven.

% moisture = Wt of sample + dish before drying – Wt of sample + dish after drying x 100. Since the water content of feed varied very widely, ingredients and feed are usually compared for their nutrient content on moisture free or dry matter (DM) basis. % DM = 100 – % moisture.

Moisture content is one of the most commonly measured properties of food materials. It is important to food scientist for a number of different reasons; legal and labeling requirements, microbial stability, food quality and food processing operations. It is therefore important for food scientists to be able to reliably measure moisture contents. A number of analytical techniques have been developed for this purpose. The choice of an analytical procedure for a particular application depends on an understanding of the molecular characteristics of water. Water molecule consists of an oxygen atom covalently bound to two hydrogen atoms (H20). Each of the hydrogen atoms has a small positive charge while the oxygen atom has two lone pairs of electrons that each has a small negative charge. Consequently, water molecules are capable of forming relatively strong hydrogen bonds with four neighbouring water molecule. The strength and directionality of this hydrogen bonds are the origin of many of the unique physiocochemical properties of water. The development of analytical techniques to determine the moisture content of foods depends on the nature of the food being analyzed and reason the information is needed. An appreciation of the principles, advantages and limitations of the various analytical techniques developed to determine the moisture content of foods depends on being able to distinguish water (the analyte) from the other components in the food (the matrix). The characteristics of water that are most commonly used to achieve these are; its relatively low boiling point, it’s high polarity, it’s ability to undergo unique chemical reactions with certain reagent, it’s unique electromagnetic absorption spectra and it’s characteristic physical properties (density, compressibility, electrical conductivity and refractive index). Despite having the same chemical formular (H2O), the water molecules in a food may be present in a variety of different molecules in a variety of different molecular environments depending on their interaction with the surrounding molecules. The water molecules in these different environments normally have different physiochemical properties. Foods are heterogeneous materials that contain different proportions of chemically bound, physically bound, capillary, trapped or bulk water.

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BULK WATER

Bulk water is free from any other constituents, so that each water molecule is surrounded only by other molecules. It therefore has physiochemical properties that are the same as those of pure water, e.g. melting point, boiling point, density, compressibility, heat of vaporization, electromagnetic absorption spectra.

CAPILLARY OR TRAPPED WATER

Capillary water is held in narrow channels between certain foods components because of capillary forces. Trapped water is held within spaces within a food that are surrounded by a physical barrier that prevent the water molecules from easily escaping. The majority of this type of water is involved in normal water – water bonding and so it has physiochemical properties similar to that of bulk water.

PHYSICALLY BOUND WATER

A significant fraction of the water molecules in many foods are not completely surrounded by other water molecules, but are in molecular content with each other food constituents, example proteins, carbohydrates or minerals. The bonds between water molecules and these constituents are often significantly different from normal water – water bonds and so this type of water has different physicochemical properties than bulk water.

CHEMICALLY BOUND WATER

Some of the water molecules present in a food may be chemically bonded to other molecules as water of crystallization or hydrates example, NaSO4. 10H20. These bonds are much stronger than the normal water-water bond and therefore chemically bound water has very different physiochemical properties to bulk water. In addition, foods may contain water that is present in different physical states: gas, liquid or solid. The fact that water molecules can exist in a number of different molecular environments, with different physiochemical properties, can be problematic for food analyst trying to accurately determine the moisture content of foods. Many analytical procedures developed to measure moisture content of foods. Many analytical procedures developed to measure moisture content are more sensitive to water in other types of molecular environment. This means that the measured value of the moisture content of a particular food may depend on the experimental technique used to carry out the measurement. Sometimes food analysts are interested in determining the amounts of water in specific molecular environments (example, physical bound water), rather than the total water content. For example, the rate of microbial growth in a food depends on the amount of bulk water present in food bulk water present in a food and not necessarily on the total amount of water present.

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Determining the ash and or moisture content of feeds may be important for several reasons. It is part of proximate analysis for nutritional evaluation. For instance, some minerals are essential to a healthy diet (example, calcium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium) whereas others can be toxic (eg lead, mercury, cadmium and aluminum). Knowledge of ash and moisture content of feeds also helps in nutrient determination as well as to know the mineral content of foods during processing because this affects the physicochemical properties of foods.

  • STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Some people prefer to eat ripe plantain while some prefer to eat unripe ones. Meanwhile, this study will investigate if there is difference in nutritional components of ripe and unripe plantain.

  • OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

In view of the nutritional and health benefits of plantain at different ripening stages, this study was designed to compare the moisture and ash composition of ripe and unripe plantain obtained from Oko, Anambra state of Nigeria.

  • SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

With the increase in the rate of plantain consumption especially the ripe and unripe plantain the society will benefit from the work as they will now have a genue data on the nutritional composition of the ripe and unripe plantains.

  • SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The scope of this work is restricted to the comparative analysis of ash and moisture content of ripe and unripe plantain obtained from Oko Anambra state, Nigeria.

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Project topic: COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ASH AND MOISTURE CONTENTS  OF RIPE AND UN-RIPE PLANTAIN (Musa Paradisiaca)

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