Scientific Research and Essays

  • Abbreviation: Sci. Res. Essays
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1992-2248
  • DOI: 10.5897/SRE
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 2750

Full Length Research Paper

Digitaria exilis (acha/fonio), Digitaria iburua (iburu/fonio) and Eluesine coracana (tamba/finger millet) – Non-conventional cereal grains with potentials

Jideani I.  A.
Department of Food Science and Technology, School of Agriculture, University of Venda, Private Bag x5050, Thohoyandou, 0950, Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 15 November 2012
  •  Published: 19 November 2012


Traditional African cereal grains, acha (Digitaria exilis Stapf), iburu (Digitaria iburuaStapf) and tamba (Eluesine coracana) though poorly studied have received an increasing attention by scientists within the last decade as revealed from the literature. They have potential to contribute significantly to whole grain diets, wellness, economic status improvement, and play important role in food security in developing economy. They are considered as health grains in the sense that they are often consumed whole and are gluten-free. Studies have shown that sprouting and fermenting tamba (finger millet) with fungus adds value for effective utilization and provides scope for development of functional food. Like other emerging ancient grains, these cereals with excellent culinary and nutritional properties have potential in new product development as they are believed to represent the highest quality of vitamins, minerals, fibre and the sulphur containing amino acids. Food industry may look into their use as ingredients in product formulation considering growing awareness of a healthy diet and challenging cost of health care. Value addition and exploitation of these cereal grains require concerted and collaborative efforts in terms of infrastructure, funding, innovation, purposeful policies from governments, international donors, academia, food industry, the private sector if the growing population in the sub-Saharan region is to experience the full benefits of cereal grains for active and healthy life; hence this review.


Key words: Cereal, wholegrain, Digitaria spp., acha, iburu, Eluesine spp., tamba, raji, finger millet.