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Print: ISSN 2157-0167, Online: ISSN 2157-1317, doi:10.5251/ajfn.2011.

© 2011, ScienceHuβ, http://www.scihub.org/AJFN

Development of crackers from cassava and sweetpotato flours using

Moringa oleifera and Ipomoea batatas leaves as fortificant
Deborah Owusu, Ibok Oduro* and W.O. Ellis
Department of Food Science and Technology, College of Science, KNUST – Kumasi.
*Corresponding author: Tel: +233-244288315, Email address: iquomma@yahoo.com

The aim of this study was to develop crackers enriched with Moringa oleifera and Ipomoea
batatas using 100 % cassava and sweetpotato flour for potential use by celiac. Moringa oleifera
and Ipomoea batatas enriched butter and cream crackers were made from 100% cassava flour
and 100% sweetpotato flour using 100% wheat flour as the control. Preliminary preference test
was conducted for butter crackers and cream crackers based on which the best cracker was
chosen for further sensory evaluation by trained panellists who evaluated each product for
colour, appearance, aroma, crispness, firmness, chewiness, taste, bitter after-taste, and overall
acceptability. Proximate analysis, total phenols and beta-cartoene contents were also
established. The beta-carotene levels of the leaves ranged from 4.76 mg/100g to 11.54 mg/100g
for the sweetpotato leaves with Moringa oleifera having the highest β-carotene content of 23.43
mg/100g. Phenolic content ranged from 3.16% to 6.92% for sweetpotato leaves and 1.51% for
Moringa oleifera. No significant difference was observed between cassava cream crackers and
the control (wheat cream cracker) for the sensory parameters evaluated by the trained panellist.
Sweetpotato flour crackers and cassava flour crackers had 4.87 and 3.14; 3.31 and 3.20; 1.79
and 1.92; 4.23 and 3.29; 13.29 and 10.31; 77.38 and 81.28; 446.09 and 431.02 respectively for
% moisture, %ash, % fibre, % protein, % fat, %carbohydrates and %calories. The data
presented in this study demonstrates the potential for industrial exploitation of cassava and
sweetpotato flour through processing into snack food items such as crackers which would be
suitable for gluten intolerants.
Keywords: Moringa oleifera, Ipomoea batatas, gluten intolerance, sensory evaluation.
INTRODUCTION skin by forming lesions that are watery and itchy
(Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease, 2006).
Gluten intolerance, also known as celiac disease,
affects people who are genetically intolerant to Currently there is no drug for gluten intolerance; the
gluten. Sheasby (2001) defines gluten as a protein best method of treatment is a gluten-free diet
that occurs naturally in wheat and rye and is related (Corcoran, 2006, Sheasby, 2001, Feighry, 1999).
to similar proteins in oats and barley. This means that Individuals on any avoidance diet are at risk of
gluten is present in all foods that are made from developing deficiencies of micro-nutrients (e.g.,
these grains. This life-long condition affects about thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, iron, selenium, chromium,
one in 200 people in the world (Gluten Intolerance magnesium, folacin, phosphorus and molybdenum)
and Celiac Disease, 2006). When a celiac eats food (Steinman, 2007). It is therefore essential that
containing gluten, the intestine responds to the food patients consume lots of fruits and leafy vegetables
as an allergy. The lining of the intestine becomes such as Moringa oleifera and Ipomoea batatas
inflamed and this causes the villi to become flattened, leaves. A previous study by Oduro et al. (2008) has
reducing the surface area of the gut which is then no shown that the leaves of these plants are very
longer able to absorb nutrients efficiently (Corcoran, nutritious containing essential micronutrients needed
2006). Weight loss and wasting may then occur, by the body. Apart from the micronutrients, these
leading to malnutrition (Sheasby, 2001). Severe vegetables have been proven to be good sources of
symptoms such as chronic abdominal bloating and phytochemicals including polyphenols and β-
pain, diarrhoea, constipation, weight loss and carotene. Islam et al (2006) stated that sweetpotato
sometimes blistery rash have been reported leaves are an excellent source of bioactive
(Corcoran, 2006). Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is anthocyanin and polyphenolic constituents. Apart
another form of gluten intolerance that affects the from polyphenols, Null (2004), stated that beta-
Am. J. Food. Nutr, 2011, 1(3): 114-122

carotene also helps to protect the body against many baking powder and 2 g each of the samples were
types of diseases by trapping and deactivating free combined in a bowl. Cream (158.79 ml) was slowly
radicals and other oxygen metabolites. A study by added whiles stirring until the dough held together in
Watson (1991), of older people revealed that beta- a ball. . The dough was rolled out to a thickness of
carotene increases the number of natural killer cells about 1/8 inch and cut with a 3 inch cookie cutter. It
and T-helper cells. was baked on one side for eight minutes, turned over
and baked for a further 6-8 minutes in an oven
The aim of this study was to develop crackers
preheated to 176.7°C. The crackers were then
enriched with Moringa oleifera and Ipomoea batatas
removed and placed on a rack to cool (Cream
using 100 % cassava and sweetpotato flour for the
Crackers, 2005).
potential use by celiac.
Sensory Evaluation of Products: Thirty (30)
untrained panellists evaluated each product (butter
Preparation of raw materials: New varieties of crackers and cream crackers) for colour, aroma,
Ipomoea batatas leaves (Sauti, Ogyefo, Apomuden, mouthfeel, texture, taste, and overall acceptability of
Otoo, Hi Starch, Okumkom, and Santom Pona) the products using a 5 point hedonic scale. Based on
(about 15 cm in length from the tender tops) and the sensory results, the best crackers were chosen
Moringa oleifera leaflets were harvested, sorted and for further sensory evaluation. Fifteen (15) trained
washed. One hundred grams (100 g) of the leaves panellists evaluated each product for colour,
were steam blanched for five minutes, cooled and appearance, aroma, crispness, firmness, chewiness,
shade dried until constant weight. They were then taste, bitter after-taste, and overall preference by
milled and packaged into polypropylene films. The marking the intensity of each attribute on a line scale
packaged leaves were placed in black polyethylene of 10 centimetres (Stone and Sidel, 1996). The length
bags and stored in a deep freezer prior to analysis. was then measured from the beginning of the line to
Apomuden was added to the Moringa oleifera leaves the point marked by the panellists and the value
in a one to one ratio and used for cracker preparation noted.
due to its high total phenolics, calcium, fibre and
Total phenolics Analysis: Total phenolics were
appreciable level of protein, iron and beta carotene
determined by a modification of the procedure
(Oduro et al., 2008).
described by Makkar et al., (1993). Four hundred
Preparation of Butter Crackers: Four hundred and milligrams (400 mg) of Moringa oleifera and Ipomoea
fifty grams (450 g) of flour (cassava, sweetpotato and batatas (dried and finely ground) was weighed into 50
wheat), 28.35 g of sugar, 4.77 g of salt, and 2 g of mL centrifuge tubes. Twenty (20) mL of 70%
each sweetpotato and Moringa oleifera leaves were aqueous acetone (with pH adjusted to 3 with acetic
sifted together into a large bowl. Butter (56.25 g) was acid) was added to the sample and allowed to stand
added and mixed until it formed a uniform paste. at room temperature for 20 minutes. The tubes were
Also 237 ml of milk was added and stirred until the subjected to centrifugation for 10 min at
dough formed a stiff ball. With the help of a lightly approximately 3000 rpm at 4 °C. The supernatant
floured board and rolling pin, the dough was rolled (containing polyphenols) was collected and kept on
out until it was about 1/8 of an inch thick. With a 2- ice. An aliquot of 0.1 milliliters of the polyphenol-
inch square cookie cutter dipped in flour, square containing extract was put into test tubes and the
crackers were cut out. These were placed on an volume made up to 2 ml with distilled water. One
ungreased cookie sheet and pricked on the top in milliliter (1 ml) of Folin-Ciocalteau reagent (1N) and 5
several places with a fork. The top of each cracker ml of 20 % sodium carbonate solution was added.
was brushed with milk. The crackers were baked in The tubes were vortexed and absorbance read at
an oven preheated to 218.3 °C for 15-20 minutes, or 725 nm after 40 minutes. The amount of total phenols
until they were light gold, then cooled on a rack and was determined as tannic acid equivalent from a
stored airtight at room temperature in a glass jar calibration curve prepared using standard tannic acid
(Hodgman, 1995). solution (0.1mg/ml). Total phenolic content was
expressed on a dry matter basis.
Preparation of Cream Crackers: Cream crackers
were prepared from cassava and sweetpotato flour Beta-carotene Analysis: About 0.05 g of the sample
using wheat flour as the control. Two hundred and was weighed and ground smoothly with celite using
twenty-five grams (225 g) of flour (cassava, sweet mortar and pestle. Fifty millilitres (50 ml) of acetone
potato and wheat), 4.77 g salt, 7.16 g sugar, 4.77 g was added while grinding to extract carotene. The

Am. J. Food. Nutr, 2011, 1(3): 114-122

extracts were filtered using the hand aspirator and The beta-carotene levels of the leaves (Table 1)
the filtrate added to 20 mL of petroleum ether in a ranged from 4.76 mg/100g to 11.54 mg/100g for the
separating funnel. Water was gently added at the sweetpotato leaves. Santom Pona had the highest β-
side of the funnel with each addition being allowed to carotene level of 11.54 mg/100g followed by Otoo
separate and the residual acetone, dried over with 10.02 mg/100g and Apomuden with 9.89
anhydrous sodium sulphate. One hundred millilitres mg/100g. Hi Starch had the lowest level of beta-
(100 ml) of the concentration was evaporated to carotene 4.76 mg/100g. In all, Moringa oleifera had
dryness with nitrogen gas and re-dissolved the highest β-carotene content of 23.43 mg/100g.
(reconstituted) in varying volumes of the mobile These levels are higher than those of cassava,
phase depending on anticipated concentration. The pumpkin, and amaranth leaves (FAO, 2006). The
absorbance was then determined by high level of beta-carotene in the leaf samples make
spectrophotometer and HPLC as described by them good for human health by working against
Rodriguez-Amaya and Kimura (2004). singlet oxygen, giving better cornea protection
against UV light than lycopene and boosting the
Statistical Analysis: Data for all determinations
activity of Natural Killer (NK) immune cells (Best,
were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA)
2005). According to Null (2004), beta-carotene also
using SPSS version 15. Fisher’s least significant
helps to protect the body against many types of
difference (LSD) test was used to identify significant
cancer by trapping and deactivating free radical and
differences among treatment means (p<0.05).
other oxygen metabolites that damage DNA causing
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION cell mutations that lead to cancer.
Phenolic and Beta-Carotene Content: Phenolics, a These results show that consumption of these leaves
component of polyphenols protect the body tissues can help in combating several diseases in Ghana
against oxidative stress. Phenolics include since phenolics and carotenoids are known to help
anthocyanins, flavonoids, proanthocyanidins and during digestion, inhibiting some of the oxidation of
tannins (Lindsay, 1996b). From Table 1, Apomuden fats in gastric fluid (Granato, 2003) and prevent
had the highest level of total phenolics (6.92 %) atherosclerosis by boosting the activity of vitamin C,
followed by Hi Starch (6.68 %) and Okumkom (4.55 which in turn increases the levels of vitamin E. This
%) with Moringa oleifera having the least phenolic synergy increases the overall resistance to oxidative
content of 1.15 %. There were significant differences stress (Very Berry- and Grape too, 2001)
(p< 0.05) among the varieties sampled with respect
Sensory evaluation of products (Preference Test):
to phenolic contents.
Preliminary sensory evaluation of the crackers was
Table 1: Total Phenolics and Beta-carotene content of conducted using two preparation methods (one with
Moringa oleifera and Sweetpotato leaves* butter and the other with heavy cream) to analyse for
Leaf Sample Phenolic content Beta-carotene the preferred type of crackers.
(%) content For all the samples, the colour of cream crackers
(mg/100g) made with wheat was the one most liked with a mean
Apomuden 6.92±0.01a 9.89±0.00a
score of 2.53 (Fig 1). Butter crackers made with
Hi Starch 6.68±0.00b 4.76±0.00b
cassava had a mean score of 3.23, cream crackers
Moringa oleifera 1.51±0.00c 23.43±0.00c
Ogyefo 2.51±0.00d 8.76±0.01d made with sweetpotato was rated 3.00 and cassava
Okumkom 4.55±0.00e 9.89±0.00e flour also rated 3.23. Statistical analysis of the data
Otoo 3.83±0.02f 10.02±0.00f showed significant differences (p< 0.05) between
Santom Pona 3.81±0.00f 11.54±0.01g cream crackers made from wheat flour and butter
Sauti 3.16±0.00g 5.14±0.00h crackers made from cassava flour. Similar
* Mean values ± Standard Deviation Values observation was also made between butter crackers
made from wheat and sweetpotato flours.
(a-h) Means in same column but with different superscripts
differ significantly (p<0.05).

Am. J. Food. Nutr, 2011, 1(3): 114-122

Sensory Attributes



cassava butter
Mean scores

2.50 wheat butter

sweetpotato butter
cassava cream
1.50 wheat cream
sweetpotato cream


colour aroma mouthfeel texture taste overall

Fig 1. Mean Scores for sensory attributes of products

The aroma of cream crackers made from the three crackers more flaky and crispy (Leavening, 1996)
different types of flours was liked moderately with and therefore easier to chew.
crackers made from cassava flour had a preferred
The mean scores for texture of the samples fell in a
mean score of 2.07 (Fig 1). The aroma of the butter
range from 2.57 (cream crackers made from wheat
crackers were neither liked nor disliked with butter
flour) to 3.20 (butter crackers made from wheat flour).
crackers made from wheat having the mean score of
Significant differences (p<0.05) was observed
3.40. There were significant differences (p<0.05)
between butter crackers made from wheat flour and
between all the butter cracker samples and cream
all the samples. This result was expected due to the
cracker samples. No significant differences were
fact that the baking powder acts on gluten found in
noticed between samples made with butter as well as
wheat flour releasing carbon dioxide and therefore
between samples made with cream.
making the crackers more crisp and firm (Leavening,
The mouth-feel of wheat and sweetpotato flour cream 1996). The mean texture score for butter crackers
crackers had mean scores of 2.40 and 2.70 made from wheat flour was the least and this could
respectively. All the other samples were neither liked also be attributed to the lack of baking powder in the
nor disliked. Cassava and sweetpotato flour butter preparation.
crackers had mean scores of 3.10 each meaning that
The taste of cream crackers made from wheat flour
they were the least preferred. Statistical analysis
was the most preferred having a mean score of 2.37
showed significant differences (p<0.05) between
and then by sweetpotato flour cream crackers with a
butter crackers made from cassava, wheat and sweet
mean score of 2.63. There were significant
potato flour cream crackers. There were also
differences (p<0.05) between all the cream cracker
significant differences between cream crackers made
samples and all the butter cracker samples except
from wheat flour and all samples except cream
that made from sweet potato flour. These significant
crackers made from sweetpotato flour. Cream
differences could be attributed to the heavy cream
crackers made from wheat flour were the most
used in the preparation of the cream crackers
preferred and this could be as a result of gluten in the
because dietary fats retain and release flavour (taste
wheat flour which reacted chemically with the
and aroma) of foods (Lindsay, 1996a).
leavening agent (baking powder). This made the

Am. J. Food. Nutr, 2011, 1(3): 114-122

For overall acceptability, all the cream cracker was done on them. Proximate analysis of the cream
samples were liked moderately with mean scores of crackers and control (Table 2), showed crackers
2.03 (wheat flour), 2.07 (sweet potato flour) and 2.40 made from wheat flour (control) as having the highest
(cassava flour). Butter crackers made from cassava, moisture content of 5.08 % and that made from
wheat and sweetpotato flours were neither liked nor cassava flour as having the lowest (3.14 %).
disliked. Statistical analysis of the data showed Statistically, there were significant differences
significant differences (p < 0.05) between all the (p<0.05) in the moisture content of all the product
cream cracker samples and the butter cracker types. The relatively higher moisture content of the
samples. This means that cream cracker samples wheat flour means that it will be more prone to
were the most preferred. deterioration and mould growth than that of the
cassava and sweetpotato (Fennema and
Chemical composition of the products: From the
Tannenbaum, 1996). However the moisture content
preliminary sensory evaluation, crackers made from
did not exceed the 6.0 % level recommended by the
cream were preferred therefore proximate analysis
U. S. Department of Agriculture (1998) for crackers.

Table 2. Proximate composition of crackers and flour*

Sample Moisture Ash Fibre Protein Fat Carbohydrate Calorie
(%) (%)
(%) (%) (%) (%) (%)
Commercial 3.21±0.08a 1.41±0.05a 2.80±0.05a 9.86±0.01a 13.51±0.05a 67.6±0.02a 431.0±0.13a

Wheat flour 5.08±0.02b 2.75±0.10b 0.55±0.02b 15.69±0.03b 16.47±0.07b 65.08±0.01b 471.33±0.57b

Sweetpotato 3.06±0.05c 4.5±0.09c 1.24±0.06c 1.03±0.03c 1.14±0.03c 90.6±0.05c 376.78±0.09c
Sweetpotato 4.87±0.09d 3.31±0.07d 1.79±0.01d 4.23±0.01d 13.29±0.01d 77.38±0.01d 446.09±0.04d
Cassava 3.53±0.06e 1.68±0.05e 1.75±0.03e 1.56±0.02e 0.70±0.03e 85.32±0.04e 353.82±0.07e
Cassava 3.14±0.04f 3.20±0.08f 1.92±0.01f 3.29±0.01f 10.31±0.07f 81.28±0.02f 431.02±0.06f
* Mean values ± Standard Deviation Values
(a-f) Means in same column but with different superscripts differ significantly (p<0.05)
Ash content ranged from 2.75 % (wheat flour Cassava flour crackers had the highest fibre content
crackers) to 3.31 % (sweetpotato flour crackers). The of 1.92 %, with wheat flour crackers recording the
ash content of the products were significantly lowest fibre content of 0.55 % as shown in Table 2.
different (p<0.05). The ash content of the cassava Statistical analysis showed significant differences
and sweetpotato flours were relatively lower than the (p<0.05) amongst the crackers. The high fibre
ash content of their respective crackers. This can be content of cassava flour crackers makes them
attributed to the incorporation of moringa and suitable for the prevention of constipation, colon
sweetpotato leaves. Also the ash content of wheat cancer in humans (IWES, 1971; Saldanha, 1995;
flour crackers was higher than that of commercial UICC/WHO, 2005). The high fibre content of the
crackers on the market. Ash content is reflective of sweetpotato and cassava flour crackers as compared
the total mineral content of the products (Pomeranz to sweetpotato and cassava flours could be attributed
and Meloan, 1987; Haard, 1996) and this means that to the incorporation of the Moringa and sweet potato
crackers made from the sweetpotato flour had higher leaves.
total mineral content.

Am. J. Food. Nutr, 2011, 1(3): 114-122

Crude protein analysis showed crackers made from

wheat flour as having the highest level (15.69 %) with Colour and Appearance Acceptability
cassava flour crackers having the lowest (3.29 %)
amongst the developed products, largely due to the
absence of the protein, gluten in the root tubers 6.00
(Sheasby, 2001). It can be said that the leafy
samples added to the protein content of all the 5.00
developed crackers since their protein content were

M e an S c o res
higher than that of the flours and commercial Cassava
crackers. Studies have shown that sweetpotato and 3.00 Wheat
Moringa leaves have relatively higher protein content
(Oduro et al, 2008; Fuglie, 2001) thus their impact on 2.00 Sweetpotato
the protein content of the products.
Crude fat content ranged from 10.31 % (cassava) to
16.47 % (wheat). The fat content of all the products 0.00
Colour Appearance
except wheat flour crackers (16.47 %) fell in the
range (5.00% - 15.00%) given by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (1998) for crude fat content Fig 2. Mean scores for colour and appearance
of crackers. There were significant differences acceptability of cream crackers
(p<0.05) among the products. Since fat contributes Cream crackers made with cassava flour were less
largely to total calories of a diet, health conscious and rough than all the other samples with a mean of 5.51
anorexics patients can pick crackers with lower fat followed by that of sweetpotato flour with a mean
content (cassava flour crackers) for consumption. score of 5.35. Of all the samples, the wheat flour
The increase in fat content of the products could be crackers were the roughest with a mean score of
attributed to the heavy cream used in product 3.87 (Fig. 2). Statistical analysis of the samples
preparation. showed no significant differences (p>0.05). Cream
Total carbohydrate content of the products was high crackers are supposed to have a bumpy or rough
ranging from 65.08 % to 81.28 %. Significant surface due to the release of carbon dioxide from the
differences (p<0.05) were detected among the leavening agent used (Leavening, 1996). The release
products. The high carbohydrate content of the of carbon dioxide expands the dough thereby
products makes them a good source of energy for all increasing the volume of the cracker and also making
people. However, the obese and those who do not the cracker flaky. The dough must be suitable for
want to gain weight should consider the caloric value holding the expanded shape, before, during, and
of the products when consuming them. Caloric values after cooking. Crackers made from cassava and
(p<0.05) ranged from 431.02 cal/g for cassava flour sweetpotato flour was closer to being smooth
crackers to 471.33 cal/g wheat flour crackers because they lack gluten which helps hold the
volume of the cracker even after cooling.
Sensory evaluation by trained panellists: The
colour of the control, wheat flour crackers (2.97), was The mean score for aroma of all the samples, shown
picked as being the closest to the typical colour of in Fig. 3, were higher than 5.0. The aroma of the
crackers which is light cream without burnt parts (Fig control had a mean score of 5.79, followed by sweet
2). This was reflected in the result given by the potato flour crackers (5.48), and cassava flour
untrained panellists as they chose the colour of crackers (5.33). Significant differences were not
cream crackers made from wheat as the best. The observed between the products. These results which
colour of the cassava flour crackers was further away show a creamy aroma may be due to the addition of
from the typical colour of crackers (2.28). However heavy cream in the preparation. The creamy aroma
statistical analysis showed no significant differences was enhanced due to the fat in the cream (Lindsay,
(p> 0.05) among the developed products. 1996a; Pomeranz and Meloan, 1987).

Am. J. Food. Nutr, 2011, 1(3): 114-122

Texture Acceptability


M e a n S c o re s
4.00 Wheat
3.00 Sweetpotato
Crispiness Firmness Chewyness

Fig 3. Mean Scores for Aroma, Taste and Bitter Fig 4. Mean Scores for Crispiness, Firmness and
after-taste Chewiness.
The taste of wheat flour crackers (Figure 3) was The degree of chewiness of crackers made from
described as creamy, which is the typical taste of cassava flour (5.24) was higher than all the samples
cream crackers (5.89). Crackers made from wheat as shown in Figure 4. The mean score for chewiness
flour had the least bitter after-taste among the three of crackers made from wheat flour was the lowest.
products. The taste of crackers made from cassava There was however no significant difference among
flour was the least typical of cream crackers (5.48) the products. The chewiness is described as how
and incidentally the one with the highest bitter after- long one has to chew the crackers before swallowing.
taste (4.18). Analysis showed no significant Crackers should not be chewed for long because of
differences (p>0.05) among the products for both their flaky nature due to the action of a leavening
taste and bitter aftertaste. The slight bitter after-taste agent on the gluten. Crackers made from wheat flour
of the products could be attributed to the presence of were less chewy and this correlated with the crisp
the Moringa and sweetpotato leaf samples. and firm profile of the products. Crackers made from
wheat flour were crispier and less firm and thus were
For texture (Figure 4), all samples were described as
expected to be less chewy.
crispy and firm. The control, wheat flour crackers,
was crispiest (6.58), followed by cassava flour Of all the products, crackers made from cassava flour
crackers (6.21) and sweetpotato flour crackers (5.36). were the most preferred with a mean score of 5.81,
Crackers made from cassava flour were more firm whiles crackers made from sweetpotato flour had the
(7.55) than all the others (sweetpotato flour crackers: least mean score of 5.29. There were no significant
7.21, wheat flour crackers: 6.42). There were no differences between the developed products. This
significant differences (p<0.05) among the products. means that those with gluten intolerance can opt for
crackers made from cassava or sweetpotato flour
and enriched with Ipomoea batatas and Moringa
oleifera leaves without fear of celiac disease since
they do not contain gluten.

Am. J. Food. Nutr, 2011, 1(3): 114-122

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