Sweet potato is one of the most important food sources in Africa. However, most of the plants grown here are of the variety of white or yellow flesh.
This type of sweet potato has a low content of carotene. The International Potato Center has produced several special sweet potatoes:
its flesh is orange and rich in beta-carotene. These crops can grow better in African soils and tastes well suited to local tastes.
Mbogo usually works at the Food and Nutrition Assessment Laboratory at the International Potato Center in Kenya.
His job is to help partners from the private sector to provide sweet potato fortified bread to African consumers.
To better assess the digestibility of starch in bread and accurately measure its potential nutrients, Mbogo came to Brookings, South Dakota.
SDState can provide him with the training and equipment he needs, which is not available in his Kenyan laboratory.
Mbogo worked with Janaswamy to add different concentrations of sweet potato pulp to the bread dough to find a balance
between nutritional value and the bread that people wanted, and then put the dough into the bread machine for baking.
Mbogo grades bread based on its sensory attributes, texture and volume. Taste testers were recruited for tasting and feedback.
In addition, after examining the physical characteristics of the bread, Mbogo found that sweet potato can change the digestibility of the bread and prolong the digestion time.
Prolonging the digestion time is a good way for diabetics to control their blood sugar levels.
The next step for Mbogo and Janaswamy is to find out how many carotene in the bread is absorbed by the body.
They mimicked the digestive process of the mouth, stomach and intestines during digestion to see how much nutrients are released from the bread and can be used for absorption.
The amount of beta-carotene absorbed by intestinal cells will determine how much vitamin A is synthesized by the body.
Based on this, the researchers can calculate the nutrient content of a sweet potato fortified bread.