In Nigeria the usual first weaning food is called “ogi”, “pap”, “akamu”, or “koko” and is made from maize, millet, or guinea corn. In most parts of Nigeria, mothers introduce the thin gruel to infants at three to six months of age.
The baby is fed on demand with a spoon or a cup, although in certain parts of the country, a few mothers use the traditional forced hand-feeding method.
The traditional preparation of Akamu involves soaking of the corn kernels in water for 1-3 days followed by wet milling and sieving to remove the bran, hulls and germ. The pomace is retained on the sieve and later discarded as animal feed while the filtrate is fermented (for 2-3 days) to yield Akamu, which is sour, white starchy sediment. Ogi is often marketed as a wet material wrapped in leaves or transparent polythene bags.
Maize (Zea mays L.) is a staple food in many parts of the world including sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
In Nigeria and some other West African countries, it is traditionally transformed by submerged fermentation to Pap – a complementary weaning food for infants and young children, convenient food for the sick, convalescent and elderly or quick breakfast mostly for those living in rural areas characterized by low income.
Pap is preferred by nearly 150million West Africans mainly due to the ease of preparation of this gruel and the numerous associated nutritional benefits including high calorie, minerals, vitamins, and probiotic contents, The rich probiotic contents of Pap and other traditionally fermented cereal foods result from the indigenous beneficial microbial flora that play significant roles during cereal fermentation to yield the final product.
Furthermore, fermentation provides a variety of foods and contributes to food preservation. Fermentation during Pap production occurs in two distinct stages:(1)steeping of maize prior to obtaining Pap gruel and (2) souring of fermented ogi.
Several authors have reported on Pap production from various varieties of maize (white and yellow), from guineacorn, millet and sorghum after steeping for either24, 48, 72, or96h. Usual practice in the local or traditional setting, however, is that maize is steeped for at least 48h and may extend to 96h.
In order to understand the ecology of species and promote biotechnology through beneficial strain selection for improved Pap production, microbial communities associated with spontaneous maize fermentation to Pap have been characterized and studied.
TRADITIONAL METHOD OF PROCESSING PAP
Maize (Zea mays) grains
Sort and clean
Wash with clean water
Soak in clean water for 24-48 h
Drain off water
Wet milled (using commercial milling machine)
Wet sieve (using clean muslin cloth)
Allowed to sediment (24 – 48 h, optional)
By Akubuo Chigaemezu