Tubers from wild Tacca leontopetaloides plants are frequently used as a food commodity, but when consumed raw it has a bitter taste and can be toxic, thus threatening food security. This study aimed to evaluate the nutritional composition of flour from T. leontopetaloides subjected to distinct washing treatments, hoping to improve its suitability as a pivot food commodity in regions affected by poverty and food insecurity, such as Muanza (Sofala, Mozambique). To remove the bitter taste and potentially toxic compounds, flour from T. leontopetaloides was subjected to a single washing (SW) and to 13 sequential deep washing cycles (DW). Samples were analysed for several nutritional and mineral parameters, including carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, fibre, energy, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium. Flours prepared with SW had (per 100 g): 5.25 mg proteins, 0.73 mg fats, 0.43 mg fibres, 935 mg phosphorous, 833.7 mg potassium, 120 mg calcium, 275.3 mg magnesium, and 333.6 mg sum. Deep washing significantly decreased protein (80%) and mineral contents (by at least 27%) and eliminated the presence of glycosides and quinones, but a rich nutritional profile was still preserved after this procedure. Overall, T. leontopetaloides flour has a balanced nutritional profile when adequately washed, thus serving as a promising food commodity.
Key words: Food processing, food safety, macronutrients, micronutrients, nutritional composition, mineral profiling, washing process.
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