UP PhD graduate’s research finds innovative way to extend the shelf life of sorghum flour

Posted on July 05, 2021

Research into enhancing the shelf life of sorghum flour, which is made from the drought-resistant and indigenous crop, is one way to potentially address food security on the continent on a large scale, says recent University of Pretoria (UP) PhD graduate Dr Jimi O Adebowale.

Dr Adebowale, who graduated with a PhD in Food Science from UP’s Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences during the virtual graduation ceremonies in April and is currently a lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic Ilaro, Nigeria, came up with a novel way to enhance the shelf life of sorghum flour through dry heat treatments.

The findings of the research were published in an international peer-reviewed paper.

“Through my research, I provided a clearer understanding of the mechanisms to enhance the shelf life of sorghum flour through dry heat treatments such as microwaving or roasting of the kernels,” explained Dr Adebowale who won the Lloyd W Rooney student oral paper research award at the 2018 Sorghum in the 21st-century world conference, sponsored by the Journal of Cereal Science.

Evidence for his findings was based on the evaluation of the sensory characteristics of porridge prepared from sorghum flours stored for varying periods. According to Dr Adebowale, “Utilisation of sorghum flour for human consumption is limited by its susceptibility to developing rancid off-flavours over time. Sorghum is a drought-resistant, indigenous-to-Africa crop that has the potential to address food security on a large scale.”

Dr Adebowale said he decided to achieve his lifelong dream of obtaining a PhD and helping to solve some of the continent’s challenges through UP “The PhD boosted my career as a food scientist and academic. I plan to use the knowledge and skills to assist my community with better and more nutritious food,” he said.

- Author Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
Published by Hlengiwe Mnguni

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