Main Article Content
Cereal, Legumes, Protein quality, Weaning food.
Although breast milk is adequate to meet the energy and nutrient requirements of an infant up to four to six months of age, thereafter it is insufficient to sustain normal growth and needs to be supplemented with other foods, so called weaning or supplementary foods. Plant protein sources such as legumes can be used in child feeding as an inexpensive and available source. Germination is often used as an applicable and easy natural method to improve nutritional value through availability of minerals and digestibility of protein and starch and reduce or remove anti-nutritional factors in legumes’ grain. The current study was conducted to evaluate the protein quality of two different weaning foods using bioassay procedures. The weaning foods were formulated from roasted wheat, rice, germinated and de-hulledgreen gram and lentil, skim milk powder (SMP) and carrot powder and used for animal assays with different proportions. Briefly, there were ten groups of laboratory rats in total, three groups of rats received reference diets containing three different levels of SMP (3, 6 and 9%) and six groups received weaning foods supplemented with three levels of SMP. Basal diet (0% protein) served as control treatment. Relative protein value (RPV) and relative nitrogen growth index (RNGI) were registered 0.9, 0.85 and 0.78, 0.95 for wheat and green gram based (WG) and rice and lentil based (RL) weaning foods, respectively. Both weaning foods showed high net protein ratio (NPR) and relative net protein ratio (RNPR) values. The results confirm that, although RL weaning food suggests higher protein quality, both formulations can be used safely as weaning or supplementary foods.