R. A. Okoth*, J. W. Matofari and J. M. Nduko
1Egerton University, Faculty of Agriculture,
Department of Dairy Food Science and Technology
P.O Box 536- Njoro, Kenya.
*Corresponding Author: email@example.com
Cassava is grown mostly for its tubers while the leaves are considered a byproduct. Cassava leaves constitute a very significant source of dietary protein, minerals and vitamins. However, they contain antinutrients and cyanide, notably the linamarin, which pose the risk of intoxication to the consumers when the leaves are not processed properly. Hence this should be addressed during cassava leaf processing before human consumption. Several processing methods have been developed but every method has its own limitations. Soaking and boiling has been seen to decrease the nutritive value of the leaves mostly the vitamins. Fermentation as a processing technique has also been used for detoxification of the cassava leaves. However this has been done traditionally (spontaneously) and occasionally using microorganisms. Spontaneous fermentation is not an entirely risk-free process due to the mixed culture fermentation, no standards and unhygienic methods of production. This process also habour spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms that pose a health hazard to consumers. These food safety challenges calls for a new approach by being able to improve the quality and safety of our traditionally fermented foods by using pure starter cultures which have probiotic capabilities. Product development and product innovation based on locally available crops fermented using locally isolated probiotics will enhance nutrition and safety of original local foods. This is a cross sectional desktop review of peer-reviewed journals from different researchers that summarizes the nutrient, antinutrient and toxic composition of cassava leaves and the role of probiotics in reduction of these antinutrients and toxins. Furthermore, recommendations have been made in order to encourage the use of probiotics in fermentation as a safety measure and also as a way of impacting health benefits to consumers of fermented foods.
Keywords: Cassava Leaves, Fermentation, Food safety, Probiotics