The objectives of this study were to evaluate the potential of an orange Malawian local maize variety MW5021 by comparing with a hybrid variety DKC-9089 for nutritional quality and processing properties such as proximate and mineral composition as well as pasting and thermal properties of the flour, and resistance against Prostephanus truncatus infestation during storage of the grain. Maize plants sampled for the experiments were cultivated under three different fertilizer applications, namely 0, 92 and 184 kg-N/ha, considering the chemical fertilizer input among Malawian smallholder farmers. Even without fertilizer input, significantly higher contents of crude protein, Mg, P, Ca, Fe and Zn were observed in MW5021, as compared with DKC-9089. Among pasting properties, setback of the flour slurry from MW5021 was significantly lower than DKC-9089 for all fertilizer treatments. Two-way ANOVA indicated that MW5021 had significantly lower number of grains damaged by P. truncatus than DKC-9089, throughout 12 weeks of storage experiment at 28±2°C. Thus, this study revealed that the Malawian orange local variety MW5021 retained by the smallholder farmers has considerably higher nutritional quality and P. truncatus resistance as well as lower retrogradation hardening after cooking the flour, than the hybrid maize DKC-9089.
Key words: Maize, Mineral composition, pasting properties, postharvest losses, Prostephanus truncatus, Malawi.
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