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Production of an iron rich instant baby food from sorghum and gudeim.


The objective of this study was to prepare an instant iron fortified sorghum based weaning food (meal) for children between 6 months--2 years. The meal was prepared from sorghum (Tabet variety), which is a food rich in protein and carbohydrate, and gudeim (Grewia tenax-white leaved cranberry) which is rich in minerals such as iron and calcium. Other ingredients used were skimmed milk powder, palm oil, sugar and flavouring agents.

Four meals with different percentages of sorghum and gudeim were produced and dried using drum dryer system. Like in commercial powdered instant baby foods, water was then added to the sorghum powdered meal to produce a paste. Organoleptic evaluation was carried out and the formula that scored the best in the sensory evaluation was analyzed for its proximate composition. Results showed that the Recipe A with 40 % Gudeim gave the best results in the sensory evaluation. The crude protein was found to be 12.5g/100g dm, carbohydrate content was 66.8 g / 100g dm and the fat content was 8.2g / 100g dm, These results were comparable to commercial weaning food brands Milupa and Cerelac and were also in alliance with the recommendation of weaning food for developing countries (RTI, 1987).

There was also no significant difference in the iron content in Recipe A which was 5.4 mg/100g dm and commercial brands. Calcium content in Recipe A was 28.8 nag.



Anemia is one of the most observed nutritional deficiency diseases in the world today. Nutritional anemia is a condition when the hemoglobin content of blood is lower than normal as a result of a deficiency in one or more essential nutrients regardless of the cause of such a deficiency (WHO, 1992). It is estimated that about 2,150 million people are anemic and 90% of all anemias have all iron deficit component. Iron is an essential nutrient in the human body and is required for the building of hemoglobin and stimulates red cell production. Iron deficiency anemia is a problem with serious health significance. The consequences of iron deficiency anemia in infants and children include impaired motor development, impaired language development, psychological and behavioral effects (inattention, fatigue and insecurity and decreased physical activity). In severe cases it may lead to death (DeMaeyer, 1989).

During the first three months of an infant's life, it is assumed to have sufficient iron as most of the total iron is contained within the circulating hemoglobin. However, alter three months, iron stores are mobilized to meet erythropoetic demands to expand hemoglobin mass as breast milk alone is not enough to meet growth demands (Hokama et al, 1996). Therefore, introduction of supplementation in terms of weaning foods is of vital importance to meet the requirements of the growing infants.

In Sudan, mothers still breast feed their children at a very high percentage (92%) from 6 months up to one year (Omer et al., 1987). They start supplementary feeding at 4-6 months, especially in the urban areas. In rural areas, mothers tend to introduce children to family diet directly without a transitional period, usually around 9 months (Harrison, 1992). The types of foods given to children during complementary period are goat's milk, traditional Sudanese sorghum based foods which include Nasha (thin porridge) , Aceda (thick pudding) and Kissra (fermented flat bread). In some urban areas, powered milk formulas and instant baby foods are introduced to infants (El Bushra et al., 1994).

Sorghum although widely used as a weaning food has the problem of having a low iron content and even this iron is rendered unavailable due to presence of phytic acid. This factor and other inadequate practices during the weaning period in Sudan lead to a high mortality rate among infants, which is 121-133/1000, while among children under five years is 110/1000 (Series, 1988). This high mortality rate is due to the incidence of severe malnutrition, chest infection, diarrhea measles and other diseases (Wassenar, 1988). Improper weaning practices mostly lead to malnutrition in Sudan (Dirrige, 1991). Another problem prevalent during the weaning period is contaminated food that is prepared from unsanitary water that is not heated or stored at hygienic conditions. Such foods, usually cause diarrhea and infections, which lead adequately to malnutrition and ill-health (Khan, 1996).


Weaning problems in developing countries could be solved out by encouraging breast feeding and taking proper balanced weaning foods made from recipes based on local available and cheap staple foods and processed by technology adapted to local conditions (RTI, 1987). In the Sudan, the following can be considered as the main reasons behind the poor nutrition of children: poverty, food system deficiencies, food habits and taboos and poor hygiene.


1. To develop an iron rich and well-balanced weaning formula for 6 months--2 years old infants to meet one third of daily recommended intake and should be comparable to imported instant baby food formulas.

2. To prepare baby food from local materials and it should economically feasible to produce.

Materials and Methods

The raw materials used for the preparation of the baby food were sorghum Sorghum bicolor (Tabet variety sorghum) 85 % extraction rate, Gudeim Grewia tenax (white leaved cranberry) , palm oil, sugar, banana flavor (powder) and skimmed milk powder (S.M.P). These materials were purchased from Khartoum North and Omdurman local markets. Sorghum was decorticated and milled at the Food Research Center in Shambat, Khartoum North and stored at 4 [degrees]C until used. Gudeim was soaked in water over night and sieved. Gudcim slurry was made from 40% water and 60% gudeim (w/v).The slurry was stored at 4 [degrees]C


Four formulas were prepared from different sorghum and gudeim ratios (Table 4). The other components; sugar, oil, flavouring agent (banana flavour) and skimmed milk were constant. The different ingredients were mixed and then drum dried using drum dryer (No. 105-32509 1969, Blaw-Knox Company New York USA). The flakes are then milled and stored in airtight containers for evaluation.

Organoleptic evaluation (Panel Test)

Organoleptic evaluation was carried out to determine which of the four recipes scored the best. Cost of analysis of the four samples was very expensive therefore the formula that had the best score in the organoleptic evaluation was then chemically analyzed. The evaluation was conducted using the ranking test according to the procedure described by lhekorinye and Ngoddy (1985).

20 panelists from Ahfad University for Women were given the samples and asked to evaluate organoleptic characteristics. The panelists were first trained on the methodology of analysis.

Chemical analysis

The determination of moisture, crude fibre, crude fat, crude protein, calcium, iron and ash were carried out on the samples according to AOAC (1984) methods.


Two grams of sample were dried in an oven at 105 [degrees]C for 24 hrs.

Ash: One gram of the defatted sample was ignited at 500C [degrees] in a muffle furnace for 2 hrs. Crude Protein:Nitrogen content determinations were made on fat-free meals by micro-kjeldahl technique.

Fat (ether exiract): Two grams of sample were extracted with petroleum ether for 8 hrs in soxthlet apparatus.

Crude fiber: Two grams of fat free meals were treated successively with boiling solution of [H.sub.2]S[O.sub.4] and NaOH 0.26N and 0.23N respectively.

Carbohydrates: The total carbohydrates were calculated by difference, the some of ash, moisture, crude protein and fat contents, were subtracted out of 100 to obtain this figure.


Calcium and iron: Calcium and iron were determined by AAOC (1994) using an Atomic absorption spectrophotometer.

Statgraphics Plus for Windows 4.0 was used for the statistical analysis of the study data. For the statistical analysis the t-test for the comparison of means and the f-test for the comparison of variances were used. Statgraphics runs an f-test to compare the variances of two samples. It also constructs confidence intervals or bounds for each standard deviation and for the ratio of the variances.

Results and Discussion

As shown in table (5) the moisture content of Recipe A i.e. Sorghum (60%) and Guddeim (40%) was 6.33 [+ or -] 0.01 and the ash content was 3.57 [+ or -] 0.21%. The crude protein was found to be 12.47 [+ or -] 0.15 mg. This is in alliance with the recommendation of weaning food for developing countries (RTI, 1987). In comparison to commercially known weaning foods, Recipe A protein content was significantly different. Recipe A had higher protein content than Cerelac (10 %), but lower than Milupa which was found to be (15.3%).

Fiber content in Recipe A was 3.43 [+ or -] 0.9 as shown in Table (5) and this was higher than RTI, (1987) recommendations. The fiber content in Recipe A was significantly higher than in Milupa which has 2.3% fiber.

There was no significant difference in the fat content in Recipe A (8.2 %), Milupa (10.2%) and Cerelac (9%). The (RTI, 1987) recommendation for fat is 10 %.

No significant difference was found in the carbohydrate content between the sample and commercial brands. Recipe A fat content was equal to that found in Milupa which was (66.82%), (66.80%), and (69.2) in Cerelac respectively, and these values were similar to the requirement of the RTI.

There was also no significant difference in the iron content in Recipe A (5.4 mg/100g dm) and that of Milupa (6.9 mg/100g d); however there was significant difference at 95% confidence level with Cerelac (0.75%). RTI requires 10mg/100g dm.

Calcium content in Recipe A was 28.8 mg, in Milupa is 52.5 nag and in Cerelac is 47.5 rag. The recommendation of RTI for the calcium content is 30-40 mg/100g din. Therefore, although calcium in Recipe A is lower than the commercial formulas it is in line with the specification of the weaning foods of RTI.

In the sensory evaluation (table 6) fifty percent of the panelists choose Recipe A (sorghum 60% and Gudeim 40%) as the best in terms of appearance and color. The second best scoring 25 % was recipe B where as recipe D which had only 10% gudeim had the lowest score.

Recipe A scored (70-75%) as having the best flavour, aroma and texture.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The sorghum based weaning food fortified with iron rich gudeim is a good source of protein and calcium and iron for weaning children. It scored well with the commercial brands of infant instant baby foods. The iron and calcium content significantly improved. This weaning food formula can be produced in an industrial level and distributed to different parts of the country. The raw materials being available and the method of production kept simple makes it economically feasible and different sectors of the society can afford it. It can be prepared just by the addition of water and therefore lowering the risk of contamination. The other advantage is that it is in a powdered form and its storage and transportation will be basic and very simple and can be used in times of draught and other forms of crisis.

More studies have to be conducted to study the bioavailability of iron in the sorghum gudeim recipe.


A.O.A.C. (1984) Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Official Methods of Analysis, 12th ed, Washington, D.C.

DeMaeyer, E.M (1989) Preventing and Controlling Iron Deficiency Anemia Through Primary Health Care. WHO

Dirrige, M. A. (1991) Feeding Pattern of Infants and Children with Protein Energy Malnutrition (PEM) in the Equatoria Region of Sudan. Nutrition Research. U.S.A. V, 11 (1).

Elbushra, H. M. ; Salih, M. A. ; S. A.; Ahmed, M. E. and Kamil, L.A. (1994). Infant Weaning Practices in Urban and Rural Communities of the Sudan. Tropical and Geographical Medicine. Vol. 46 5: 309-312.

Harrison, G.G. (1992) Nutrition and Child Feeding in Sudan. Ahfad Journal. Vol. 9 No 2:4-22.

Khan, H.J. (1996) Role of Weaning in the Nutritional Status of Infant. Cited in Indian Medical Journal. Aligarh, India.

Ihekornye, I.A. and Ngoddy, O.P. (1985) Integrated Food Science and Technology for Tropics. Macmallain Publisher, Hong Kong, 180-181.

Omer, M.I.; Suliman, G.T.; Mohanamed, K.A.: Elmufti, A.; Zahir, K.; Hovan, Y. and Lithel, U.B. (1987) Breast Feeding and Weaning in the Sudan, Contemporary Patterns and Influencing Factors. J. Tropical Pediat. 33:2-12.

Rooney, L.W. and Sullins, R.D. (1973) Varietal Differences in Sorghum, do they exist'? In English Biennual Grain Sorghum Research and Utilization Conference. PP. 26-32. Grain Sorghum Producer Association. Amircillor Texas, USA.

Royal Tropical Institute (RTI) (1987) Weaning Food a New Approach to Small Scale-weaning Food Production from Indigenous Raw Materials in Tropical Countries. Amsterdam, RTI, 7-William Van Steen Borden U IIa Request. J.A. Kusin. Kinder Voeoing in de Tropen, Amsterdam (Kit).

Wassenaar, N. (1988). Weaning and Weaning Foods in the Sudan. The Ahfad Journal Vol. 5, No. 2:21-26.

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Tahra El-Obeid, Lina GareebAlla and Shaza Osman (School of Family Sciences, Ahfad University for Women)
Table 1 Recommended composition of developed countries weaning
food per 1000g

Proximate Composition Content

Calories (kcal) 3730-7234
Protein (gm) 130-150
Protein (gm) 130-150
Fat (gm) 100-140
Carbohydrate (%) 66.8
Fiber (g) 15-25
Moisture (g) 40-60
Thiamine (mg) 2
Riboflavin (mg) 1
Niacin (mg) 30-40
Calcium (mg) 300-500
Iron (mg) 100

Source: Royal Tropical Institute (RTI), 1987.

Table 2 Nutritive value of Sudanese Sorghum of 15 varieties

Proximate Composition Content

Calories (kcal) 366-394 cal/100g
Moisture (%) 5.7-10-5%
Protein (%) 6.9-12.8%
Fat (%) 3.0-4.1%
Carbohydrate (%) 72.3-78.4%
Crude Fibre (%) 1.2-2.6%
Ash (%) 1.3-1.8%
Calcium (mg) 13.8-44.0 mg/100g
Iron (mg) 0.6-1.5 mg/100g
Phosphorus (mg) 121-363 mg/100g
Thiamine (mg) 0.23-0.43 mg/100g
Riboflavin (mg) 0.06-0.12 mg/100g
Niacin (mg) 3.3-6.1 mg/100g

(Yousif and Magboul, 1972)

Table 3 Elemental composition of Gudeim (mg/100g edible protion)

Element S P Mg Ca Na K Zn

% D.M Basis 0.01 0.08 0.17 0.61 0.01 1.45 21.0

Element Fe Mn Co

% D.M Basis 7.4 10.0 7.0

Table 4 The weaning food formula

Recipe Sorghum Gudeim Sugar Palm oil

A 420 g 60% 280 g 40% 25 g 100 g
B 350 g 50% 350 g 50% 25 g 100 g
C 490 g 70% 210 g 30% 25 g 100 g
D 630 g 90% 70 g 10% 25 g 100 g

Recipe Banana Skimmed
code Flavor milk

A 25 g 150 g
B 25 g 150 g
C 25 g 150 g
D 25 g 150 g

Table 5 Proximate composition and carbohydrate of Recipe A Sorghum
60%, 40% Gudeim) (An average four triplicate analysis) [+ or -] SD


Moisture % 6.3 [+ or -] 0.01
Ash % 3.6 [+ or -] 0.21
Crude Protein % 12.5 [+ or -] 0.15
Crude Fiber % 3.4 [+ or -] 0.09
Fat % 7.2 [+ or -] 0.1
Carbohydrates % 0.67
Ca (mg/100g dm) 28.8 [+ or -] 0.09
Fe (mg/100g dm) 5.4 [+ or -] 0.01

Table 6 Sensory evaluation of weaning food

Attribute Recipes

 A B C D

Appearance & Color 50% 25% 15% 10%
Flavor & Aroma 75% 15% 10% 0%
Taste & Mouth feel 70% 5% 20% 0%
After Taste 75% 10% 15% 0%

A: Sorghum (60%) and Guddeim (40%).

B: Sorghum (50%) and Guddeim (50%).

C: Sorghum (70%) and Guddeim (30%).

D: Sorghum (90%) and Guddeim (10%).
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Author:Obeid, Tahra El-; GareebAlla, Lina; Osman, Shaza
Publication:Ahfad Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2005
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