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This study was carried out to produce high‐quality weaning food from locally available and low cost raw materials. Extrudates of maize (Zea mays) and chickpea (Cicer arietinum) were processed by twin‐screw extruder. Experiments were designed using central composite rotatable design (CCRD) with three‐independent variables [feed moisture (14–18%), screw speed (400–550 rpm), barrel temperature (125–175°C)] and five‐dependent variables [specific mechanical energy (SME), bulk density (BD), water absorption index (WAI), water solubility index (WSI), degree of gelatinization (DG)]. Increase in feed moisture reduced SME, WSI, and DG and increased BD and WAI. Increase in screw speed and barrel temperature decreased BD and WAI and increased WSI and DG of the extrudates. Optimum extrusion conditions were 14.13% feed moisture, 534 rpm screw speed, and 167°C barrel temperature. The ratio of ingredients in the optimized weaning mix was 40% maize‐chickpea extrudates, 35% skim milk powder, and 25% sugar (w/w). The nutrient content was in agreement with the standards described by PFA (prevention of food adulteration act and rules, India, 2004) with high protein and starch digestibility.Practical applications
Development of weaning foods from locally available and low cost raw materials is a constant challenge for developing countries. Weaning foods are generally produced by traditional techniques like milling, roasting, drying, and germination. In the present scenario of convenience and newer products, we explored the possibility of using twin‐screw extruder for preparation of weaning foods from maize and chickpea. Effects of feed moisture, barrel temperature, and screw speed on the quality parameters of extrudates were studied. Extrudates produced at lower feed moisture, higher screw speed, and higher barrel temperature showed good physicochemical properties and higher protein and starch digestibility.
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