STORAGE STABILITY INDICES FOR MAIZE FLOUR
Maize has maintained an important position in the dietary habits of many people in developing countries. It becomes low moisture food when processed into flour although it may still be susceptible to deleterious effect of exogenous (fungi, bacteria and insects) factors whose activities are climatic dependent after processing to flour. However ,one of the central areas of research in food processing is to ensure quality stability of food items or products in storage structures in order to conserve the nutritional composition and ensure its availability during the off season periods.
In attempts to ensure durability for maize flour, an analysis of moisture sorption data was undertaken to determine storage environment boundaries and moisture content levels at which the activities of exogenous factors will be inhabited for the flour under tropical practical storage conditions.
Consequently, water activity (aw) range of 0.5 to 0.61 and moisture contents of 6.66 to 7.22(%,dry basis) was estimated to ensure quality stability for maize flour, when storage structures are exposed to a tropical situation of temperature 270c to 400 c and water activity of 0.10 to 0.80. Bet monolayer moisture content varied between 3.47 and 4.59%, dry basis. The information can benefit stake holders in the maize processing sector to ensure the availability of high quality flour as a food ingredient in various forms and for industrial utilisation. This has high tendency to improve customer’s satisfaction and invariably provoke growth in the profit margin of the food processing factor.