Effect of Fermentation on the total folate content in Mahewu, an indigenous Zimbabwean fermented beverage.

Ester Khosa, Jayashree. Arcot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fermentation improves the nutritional value of many cereals by enhancing some of the vitamin B complex in the product. Mahewu is an indigenous maize-based beverage from Zimbabwe that is produced traditionally through fermentation by natural micro-flora from the substrates of maize meal and finger millet malt. This study tested the hypothesis that folate content of mahewu is enhanced during fermentation.Mahewu was produced using simulation of two methods (traditional and industrial) in which the uncontrolled fermentation was carried out using microorganisms from the substrates and using Lactobacillus plantarum, respectively.In both cases, significant increases of total folate were seen, with a higher content from the natural malt starter culture. Folate content in the mahewu produced from using yellow maize meal as a substrate was not significantly different from that produced using white maize meal. Factors such as temperature, pH, substrate concentration and nature of raw material had some effect on the properties of mahewu.This study demonstrates that fermentation significantly increases the folate content of mahewu. In view of this, Mahewu can therefore be classified as a functional food with good nutritive value and having both prebiotic and probiotic properties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-20
Number of pages9
JournalTWOWS Africa International Journal of Science and Technology
Issue number1/ 2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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