Production and Quality Evaluation of a Fermented Drink obtained from Maize Meal using Kefir Grains and Yoghurt Starter Cultures (Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus)
Keywords:Maize, kefir, yoghurt culture, fermented drinks
Times have changed to a point that each day people have planned agendas to cover for the day. This has led to less time spent in preparing healthy and nutritious foods. The food industry has evolved to try and cater for the busy lifestyle with healthy food such as ready to drink fermented products from common substrate (e.g. cereals) using starter cultures such as kefir grains and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) to facilitate fermentation. This study aimed to develop a drink with maize meal using kefir grains and a combination of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) (Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus) as starter cultures. Physicochemical properties, biochemical composition, antioxidant activity and consumer acceptance of the products were subsequently evaluated. Kefir and LAB resulted in fermented products as evidence with the pH values below 4.0 while titratable acidity increased to 0.03 and 0.04 mL/L for LAB and kefir samples, respectively. Significant higher antioxidant activity value (5.16 µmol TE/g) was recorded in the kefir-fermented drink. Significant variation (50.57 - 52511.65 µg/g) of the enumerated sugar compounds particularly alpha-lactose, mannose, and glucose suggests modification of sugar-related molecules during fermentation. The presence of fructose is an indication of the important nutritional component of the drink. It was therefore concluded that kefir could be regarded as a potential functional product.