Indexed on: 01 Jun '11Published on: 01 Jun '11Published in: Journal of Food Science and Technology
Research and development on these indigenous African cereal grains, acha (Digitaria exilis Stapf) and iburu (D. iburua Stapf), is experiencing renewed interest not just in Africa but the rest of the world. It is believed that acha and iburu may have nutraceutical properties, as it is used in some areas for managing diabetes. Value addition and exploitation of fonio (acha and iburu) in the development of health or speciality foods like acha-bread, biscuit, cookies, sour dough, traditional drinks, nonfermented steamed and granulated dumpling products are gaining interest. These grains may also contribute in addressing some very relevant challenges in today's food formulation-both from functionality and health perspectives. The constraint of low yield is receiving attention in cereal breeding programmes which may give rise to a new generation of 'healthy' cereal grains in future. Further research on acha and iburu whole grains will hopefully lead to increase understanding of the health effects of grain components and to increase the intake of health-protective grain components. Moreover, with strong consumer demand for these grains due to their potential nutritional and health benefits, and because they help to satisfy the demand for a more varied cereal diet, efforts should be made to tackle the obstacles militating against production, improved quality, competitiveness and value-addition.