Effects of Lactic Acid Fermentation on the Retention of Β-Carotene Content in Orange Fleshed Sweet Potatoes

Benard O. Oloo, A. A. Shitandi, S. Mahungu, J. B. Malinga, Rose B. Ogata


This study aimed to establish the effects of lactic fermentation on the levels of β-carotene in selected  orange fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) varieties from Kenya.  Furthermore,it sought to demonstrate fermentation as a potential process for making new products from sweet potato with enhanced nutraceutical attributes. The varieties (Zapallo, Nyathiodiewo and SPK004/06) were fermented with Lactobacillus plantarum MTCC 1407 at 25 ± 2°C for 48 h and kept for 28 days to make lacto-pickles. During fermentation both analytical [pH, titratable acidity (TA), lactic acid (LA), starch, total sugar, reducing sugar (g/kg roots), texture (N/m2), β-carotene (mg/kg roots)] and sensory (texture, taste, flavour and after taste) attributes of sweet potato lacto-juice were evaluated. Process conditions were optimized by varying brine levels, with fermentation time. A UV-visible spectrophotometer was used to identify and quantify β-carotene. Any significant variations (p < 0.05) in analytical attributes between the fermented and unfermented samples (pH, LA, TA and β-carotene concentration) of lacto-pickles, prepared from the potato roots, were assessed. The study reported a final composition of 156.49mg/kg, 0.53mg/kg, 0.3N/m2, 1.3g/kg, 5.86g/kg, 0.5g/kg and 5.86g/kg for β-carotene, Ascorbic acid, texture; Starch, total sugars, LA and TA respectively, and a pH of 3.27. The fermented products were subjected to flavour profiling by a panel. The product sensory scores were 1.5 to 2.5 on a 5 point hedonic scale, ranging from dislike slightly to like much. The products with brine levels at 4 and 6% were most preferred. The retention of β-carotene was 93.97%. This demonstrated lactic acid fermentation as a better method for processing OFSP as the main nutritional attributes are retained. The final product was resistant to spoilage microorganisms after 28 days of fermentation. Further preservation could be obtained by addition of sodium metabisulphite. In conclusion, Lactic acid fermentation using L. plantarum is a novel method of producing Lacto pickles from Zapallo OFSP, with 93.97% β-carotene retention and adequate shelf life.


Ipomoea batatas, Lactobacillus plantarum, β-carotene, Lacto pickles, Kenya

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