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Whole-grain cereals have received considerable attention in the past years due to the presence of bioactive components like phytochemicals and antioxidants. Although cereals are part of our daily diet still the bioactives and antioxidant properties of cereals does not received much attention as compared to fruits and vegetables. Studies shows that the increased consumption of whole-grains and its products has been associated with reduced risk of developing chronic diseases. The phytochemicals and antioxidant components present in cereals are proposed to be responsible for the health benefits. The major cereals consumed are wheat, rice, maize, barley, oats, rye, sorghum and millet. In the present study Foxtail millet and Kodo millet which are considered as underutilized cereals are used for the study to evaluate the bioactive and nutritional composition. Total polyphenolic content by Folin-Ciocalteu, and antioxidant activity by DPPH % scavenging activity while reducing power was estimated. The crude proteins, crude fiber, total ash, fat and the reducing sugar contents of the two cereals were analyzed. The results suggest that both of the selected underutilized cereals can be considered to be new functional crops due to their antioxidant effects and high nutrient contents.
Keywords: antioxidant, millets, cereals, phytochemicals, bioactive.
Cereals are an important part of our daily diet across the world, still the phytochemicals and the bioactive antioxidants present in them does not receive attention as fruits and vegetables have, although they contains a unique blends of phytochemicals and bioactives present in them. Nutritious cereals as a group are represented by major millets and minor millets. Sorghum, pearl millets are major millets while minor millets include, finger millet (Eleusine coracana), foxtail millet (Setaria italica), kodo millet (Paspalum scrobiculatum), proso millet (Panicum miliaceum), little millet (Panicum sumatrens) and barnyard millet (Echinocloa frumenta) (Sertharama & Rao, 2004; Asharani et al., 2010). Over the past three decades, the cropped areas and production of these cereals is decreased significantly. A large shift from consumption of coarse grains such as sorghum, barley, rye, maize and millet to more refined cereals, like polished rice and wheat is seen especially among the urban population and higher income groups(Vijaykumar and Mohankumar, 2009; DoMD, 2009; Sharma, 2007). The total food grain production in India in the year 2008-2009 was 227.88 million tones out of which coarse cereal contributed 27.69 million tones and small millets contributed 0.44 million tons (Agricultural statistics Division, 2011).
Millets are designated as 'nutritious millets' and it deserves to be reclassified so, because of its nutritional properties. They also possess antioxidant properties as they contain good amount of phenolic compound ( Rao et al., 2011; Hodzic et al., 2009; Sreeramulu et al., 2009; Dykes & Rooney, 2007). Millets have been utilized in the development of some of the traditional recipes in India (Asha et al., 2005; Anju & Sarita, 2010) however; their commercial exploitation is very limited. Millets are considered underutilized cereal i.e. whose potential is not fully utilized. According to the guidelines issued by NIN (National institute of Nutrition), there is need to develop low cost but healthy bakery products using locally available nutritious ingredients such as millets, full bran wheat, honey and greens. The products should be standardized and the technology can be transferred to small bakery industries in rural and urban areas" (http://economictimes.indiatimes). Among the top ten millet producing countries, India ranks first followed by Nigeria in millet production (table 1). According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (2001), the world production of millets is 26.35 MT (1999) and in India the production is 8.10 MT."
Government policies and regime
With growing concern over declining nutrition level of the food available in the modern day, the Pipal Tree, farmer's group based in H D Kote has urged the government to make millets as staple diet and encourage the farmers to grow more millet and promote millet-based food. The governments must support mixed cropping with equal emphasis on millets along with the regular cereals like paddy and wheat. It will serve two purposes - ensure supply of nutrients to the population through food and effective usage of the irrigation-based dry agricultural land. The Union Government and the states is yet to implement providing millets in fair price shops and the centre has allocated 300 crore to support millet farmers in budget 2011-12, with the features and demand that encourage millet growers with subsidy, to set-up a seed bank to protect millet seeds, to distribute millets through PDS shops, to make millet-based food or dishes compulsory in government schools, college hostels and Anganwadis and to ensure effective implementation of millet schemes.
Millets and Industrial exploitation:
The use of finger millet flour in bakery products may help to boost their nutritive profile without affecting the quality or taste according to a research published in Journal of texture studies. The report states that 60 % replacement of wheat flour with finger millet for it being the rich source of minerals doesn't have any negative impact on the textural and organoleptic quality of the muffins when compared with the control sample of muffins prepared from 100% wheat flour. The results obtain is found beneficial for the use of millet flour as bakery ingredient for the industries.
Food companies' rush to capitalize on the multigrain 'fever' is giving a new air of respectability to coarse cereals, once known as the poor man's staple. The market for jowar, bajra and ragi is witnessing a turnaround never seen before as urban Indians begin to take a more active interest in what comes off their plate. There are now multigrain breads, biscuits, even dosas in the market. Leading bakery and dairy products makerÂ Britannia IndustriesÂ is procuring multigrains for its NutriChoice biscuit as well as porridge and oats under its Healthy Start breakfast mix brand (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com). Many food industries are now focusing on the healthy food segments which are estimated to be US $ 1bn and are suppose to be increased 15% annually. Many other bakery industries like Sami's bakery in Delhi, have realized the potential of millets and are focusing on products which are gluten free and low in carbohydrate content for various products like "millet-flax based pizza crust" and millets are found to be a good alternative for new product manufacturing.
Materials and Methods
Therefore the Centre of Food Technology has taken initiative for exploring the antioxidant activity and bioactive components of millets for their exploitation in industries for commercial products like biscuit, bread and other bakery products. The nutraceutical properties of two selected millets viz. kodomillet (Paspalum scrobiculatum) and foxtail millet were analysed and the data was compared with the wheat flour which is the raw ingredient used by the bakery industries for product developement. They were purchased from the local market of Allahabad district were analyzed in the present study.
Total phenolic content
Total polyphenols were estimated as per procedure described by Singleton et al. (1999) where 250 mg sample was taken in 10 ml of acetone and water (70:30 v/v) solution in a graduated test tube and heated on water bath at 70oC for 10 min. The sample was brought to room temperature, centrifuged at 3500 rpm for 10 min. The supernatant (0.2 ml) was made up to 10 ml with distilled water. This solution was diluted 10 fold. Sample solution (5 ml) was mixed with saturated sodium carbonate (0.5 ml) and Folin-Ciocalteaue reagent (0.2 ml) and made up to 10 ml with distilled water. The absorbance was read at 765 nm after 60 min by UV visible double beam spec-trophotometer (Model Evolution 600, Thermo Electron, US).
Radical scavenging activity
The antioxidant activity of native and processed little millet extracts were also measured by the DPPH radical scavenging method (De Ancos, Sgroppo, Plaza, & Cano, 2002). An aliquot (10Âµl) of acidiï¬ed methanolic extract was mixed with distilled water (90 ll) and 3.9 ml of methanolic 0.1 mM DPPH solution. The mixture was thoroughly vortex-mixed and kept in dark for 30 min.
The absorbance was measured at 515 nm. The result was expressed as percentage of inhibition of the DPPH radical. The percentage of inhibition of the DPPH radical was calculated according to the following equation:
%inhibition of DPPH =[Abs control-Abs sample/Abs control]X100
where, Abs control is the absorbance of the DPPH solution without the extracts.
Crude protein, crude fibre, total ash, Moisture and crude fat:
The protein content, crude fibre, crude fat and total ash of each sample was determined by AOAC (2005)
Result and Discussion
The quantitative analysis for polyphenols and DPPH % radical scavenging activity of kodo millet, foxtail millet and wheat flour shows that total polyphenolic content of kodo millet have maximum TPC content of 10.6%, followed by foxtail and wheat flour 3.56 and 2.13% respectively (Figure:1), while DPPH % radical scavenging activity was found maximum in foxtail millet followed by kodo millet and wheat flour in the range of 41.23, 38.97 and 16.52 respectively (Figure:1). Davies 1999 reported that the oxidative damage is very important effect of cellular-free radicals which can leads to damage of cellular constituents. Their repair depends on presence of antioxidants. The antioxidant can donate either an electron or hydrogen to cellular molecules oxidized by free radicals .They can thus prevent damage of cellular constituents, including DNA, proteins and lipids membranes from free radicals.(Davidson et al ;1972).
The nutritional evaluation of selected cereals is given in figure 2 and figure 3. From this figure it is very clear that all the selected millet grains tested found to contain crude fiber content ranging from 0.3% to 4.54%, ash 1.06% to 4.31%, fat content from 0.42 % to 3.41%, protein content from 9.14% to 12.2% while moisture from 8.43% to 11.72%.The kodo millet showed maximum crude fiber content (4..54%). This information supports that the selected cereals are healthy sources of carbohydrates for persons with insulin sensitivity or diabetes. The high-crude fiber in the millets may enhance their digestibility and also aid the peristaltic movement of the intestinal tract (Davies et al; 1999). Therefore it is clear from the study that the crude fibre, polyphenol and antioxidant content of selected millets (kodo millet and foxtail millet) are better than wheat flour. (Fig:2 & 3). Whole grain containing high amount of polyphenols and other antioxidant compounds, which have been associated with a decreased risk of number of chronic disease such as coronary heart disease (Ryan et al 2011).
Millets are nutritionally superior to cereals and provide balanced nutrients. The presence of phenols and phytochemicals had further enhanced antioxidant activity which helps to neutralize and counteract the effects of free radicals. Thus minor millets are significantly nutritious and have fairly high total antioxidant activity. The emphasis, therefore, should be on exploiting the potentially useful intrinsic qualities of these grains to produce unique and alternative value-added products, and bakery products like bread, biscuit and other staple food.
Table 1: Top ten millet producing country
Source: United States Department of Agriculture 2011
Figure 1: TPC and DPPH % scavenging activity of Selected cereals
Figure 2: Fat, total ash and crude fiber content of selected cereals
Figure 3: Protein and Moisture content of selected cereals