Functional quality, sensorial and shelf life characteristics of Agathi (Sesbania grandiflora (L).Poir leaves enriched breads

Aruna Mesa, A. Sumana


Background: In our modern life burden of non-communicable diseases such as obesity, cancer, cardio vascular disease and type-2 diabetes has increased. By contrast, life expectancy and also cost of health care has increased. So, individuals search other ways to improve or maintain their well-being. In this regard, food and also the pharmaceutical industry offer functional foods (FFs) with health promoting and disease-preventing properties. Consumption of natural bioactive compounds such as natural  antioxidants, polyphenols and flavonoids containing plant based foods  offer health benefits including protection against cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other degenerative diseases(Peressini & Sensidoni, 2009). Sesbania grandiflora is a small, loosely branching tree that grows up to 8–15 m tall and 25–30 cm in diameter. Sesbania grandiflora L.poir (also known with local name as Agati) belongs to the family Fabaceae. It is one of the most popular green vegetables and also traditional medicinal plant of India (Wagh et al.,2009). The chemical analysis of Sesbania grandiflora (agathi )  leaves revealed  it to be rich source of nutrients and beneficial bioactive compounds such as antioxidants, polyphenols and flavonoids. Bread has been regarded as one of the most popular food for centuries. It is a good source of calories and other nutrients. Bread is traditionally made from wheat flour. Addition of agathi leaves led to the enhancement of functionality of common bread.

Objective: Against the background of this information, the present investigation was undertaken with clear objective of evaluating the effects of the addition of agathi leaves on the sensory, textural, and baking characteristics, examining their microbial quality on a 5-day storage period at ambient temperature in different packaging materials, and assessing the improvement, if any, in their antioxidant content.

Methods: Shade dried agathi leaf powder was analysed for proximate, mineral and phytochemical composition. Bread samples were prepared with ingredients such as yeast, salt, sugar, water, shortening, baking time and temperature using straight dough process and varying levels of shade dried agathi leaves. Physical parameters such as loaf weight, loaf volume   and Color values were recorded. Breads were subjected to sensory evaluation. In vitro anti-oxidant capacity and In vitro antidiabetic activity of breads   was evaluated .

Results: It can be concluded that addition of leaves to plain bread is a new approach towards fortification of   bread. The leaves of agathi plant   are rich in nutrients, antioxidants and  dietary  fiber.  Agathi leaves are  used in, a traditional cuisine and have significant properties. Incorporation of dried   leaves  into wheat flour shows that the supplemented breads have, in general, enhanced moisture retention capacity, slower staling rate, richer antioxidant content, better baking characteristics, and improved sensory properties in terms of color, texture, mouthfeel, and flavor. Shade dried leaves at 10% level of addition on wheat flour was found to be the optimum supplementation level offering the highest acceptability of the fortified bread. The loaf weight of the bread samples showed significant increase as the level of substitution by agathi leaves   increased. The volume of the bread loaves was observed to decrease with increase in the substitution level of agathi leaves.  The crust color of the bread samples   showed monotonic variation in all the 3 aspects of L*, a*, and b*. With the increase in the agathi leaves   supplementation, the brightness (L*-value), redness (a*value), and the yellowness (b*-value) of the crust decreased. The dark coloration of the crusts   was the effect of the Maillard browning reaction between reducing sugars and amino acids, which is influenced by the distribution of water and the color of the bread. Even at  10%  level of supplementation, which has been adjudged to offer the best baking characteristics, antioxidant content increased by more than 50% compared to controlled bread.

Conclusion: Our study demonstrated that  agathi leaves are potential source of nutrients and phytochemicals. Addition of the agathi leaves enhanced nutritive value of breads and extended their shelf life period. Furthermore, this study revealed that addition of shade dried agathi leaves   was found to improve the functional and therapeutic quality of breads enabling them to be functional food.

Keywords: Functional food, bioactive compounds, In vitro Anti-oxidant capacity, In vitro  antidiabetic activity


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