The effect of adding Bambara groundnut (Vignia substerranea L.) on the nutritional, functional and sensory quality of a provitamin a-biofortified maize complementary instant porridge.
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Malnutrition has been declared a serious nutritional and health problem globally. The two major forms of malnutrition that are on the rise in the sub-Sahara African (SSA) region are protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) and vitamin A deficiency (VAD). The most recognized period during which these two forms of malnutrition occur is 0 to two years. This is also the period during which complementary foods are introduced. PEM and VAD in SSA mainly affects children living in the poor rural areas whose diets lack diversity. The complementary foods given to these children are mainly composed of starchy-based staple food crops, such cereals, roots and tubers. These foods are characterised by high viscosity, poor protein content and quality, in terms of the two essential amino acids: lysine and tryptophan, as well as limitations in several micronutrients, including vitamin A. Strategies used to address PEM in SSA include: dietary diversification, amino acid fortification of cereals, biofortification and complementation. Quite similar, the strategies being used to address VAD include biofortification and dietary diversification as well as vitamin A supplementation and fortification. Biofortification is a new strategy that could be used together with cereal-legume complementation to address both PEM and VAD among the vulnerable populations. Bambara groundnut (BGN), an underutilised, but nutrient-rich legume that is adapted to harsh agro-climatic conditions prevalent in SSA could be highly suitable for compositing with provitamin A-biofortified maize (PABM) in complementary foods to address PEM and VAD in countries in the SSA region, including South Africa.