Scientists Advises Using Moringa To Improve Processing Smoked-Fish

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Prof. Olayinka Karim of the Department of Home Economics and Food Science of the University of Ilorin has advised on the use of Moringa Oleifera for improving the oxidative stability of smoked fish.

Karim, who gave the advise in her Research paper entitled: “Good foods yesterday, better today and best tomorrow”, said smoke-dried fish is vulnerable to lipid peroxidation.

Lopid peroxidation is the process in which free radicals “steal” electrons from the lipids in cell membranes, resulting in cell damage. This process proceeds by a free radical chain reaction mechanism.

She described smoking as a an age long method of processing and preservation of foods especially fish in Nigeria.

The don who teaches in the Faculty of Agriculture of the University, observed that lipid peroxidation could reduce product quality and pose health risks to consumers.

She said: “The antioxidant potency of Moringa Oleifera Marinade (MOM), on oxidative stability of smoked-dried catfish stored at room temperature for eight weeks comparison with salt and Butylated Hydroxyl Anisole (BHA), a synthetic antioxidant, was investigated.

“The result showed that MOM and BHA decreased lipid peroxidation more than control (0.94 mg/MDA/kg) and salt (0.92 mg/MDA/kg)”.

She stated that smoked dried fish treated with Moringa was, therefore, recommended in place of synthetic BHA.

The expert stated that in her research on the best woods for smoking of fish, she found out that traditional fish processors had preference for some woods over others based on their availability, cost and cultural acceptability.

She stated that her research study included investigating the flavour of characteristics and acceptability of fresh fish (Chrysichtys ingrodigitatus) smoked with five different woods selected from South West Nigeria Forest ecosystem.

She explained that the woods with botanical names included Lophira alata, Uapaca guinensis, Pcanthus angoalesi, Uapaca heudoloti and Terminalia superba, showed differences in their chemical composition.

Karim observed that Pcanthus angoalesi known locally as ‘Akanmu’ and Uapaca heudoloti known as ‘Akunpupa’ produced more phenol and guaiacol that are responsible for the flavours characteristics of smoked fish than other woods.

She explained that the moisture and lignin content showed positive correlation of 0.75 and 0.60 respectively to the flavour properties.

The Food Scientist stated that based on the results, Uapaca heudoloti, (akunpupa) was found to be the most suitable wood for traditional fish smoking.

She also said her research had shown that for best organoleptic properties and safety, soft woods containing less than 12 per cent and 26 per cent moisture and lignin contents respectively were most suitable for fish smoking.

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