Nutritional Enrichment of Carrot and Cucumber Juices Using Microbial Bio-processing. – C. U. Okoro, and F. A Odigiri
Fermented vegetable juices are significant in human health because they provide vast quantities of some nutrients especially vitamins and mineral salts. Fresh juices though rich in nutrients are highly deficient in proteins and so cannot make a balanced nutrition. This research was therefore aimed at determining the effectiveness of fermentation in enhancing the nutritional value of fermented carrot and cucumber juices. Samples were prepared for microbial analysis, fermentation and proximate composition using the recommended scientific methods. Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus fermentum were used as a starter cultures. The proximate composition showed that both fermented juices retained a large proportion of their carbohydrate levels, with carrot having as high as 95.65% and cucumber 97.5%. Juice recorded a drop from 1.8% to 1.50% for carrot and 1.5% to 1.0% fat for cucumber. This drop could be attributed to the lipolytic nature of the starter cultures which aided in reducing the fat content of the vegetable juices thereby enhancing the flavor and aroma of the finished product. Protein increased from 1.0 to 1.5% in carrot and cucumber from 0.76 to 0.80%. This could be as a result of the proteolytic nature of the starter cultures. Ash and crude fibre also increased from 0.6 to 0.8% and 0.9 to 1.05 respectively. The result suggests that fermented carrot and cucumber juices had a significant increase in some nutrients. Therefore, more attention should be directed towards fermenting our local vegetable juices instead of eating them raw to improve their nutritive value.