Development of a locally sustainable functional food based on mutandabota, a traditional food in southern Africa

J Dairy Sci. 2014 May;97(5):2591-9. doi: 10.3168/jds.2013-7593. Epub 2014 Mar 13.


A probiotic dairy product was developed on the basis of a traditional dish called mutandabota to enable resource-poor populations in southern Africa to benefit from a functional food. Mutandabota is widely consumed in rural southern Africa, making it an ideal food matrix to carry probiotics. First, a process to produce probiotic mutandabota was designed. Raw cow milk was boiled and subsequently cooled to ambient temperature (25°C). Next, dry pulp from the fruit of the baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L.) was added to the milk at a concentration of 4% (wt/vol). This mixture was inoculated with the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus yoba and left to ferment for 24h, while the growth of the bacterial culture was monitored. Final ingredients were then added to produce probiotic mutandabota that had 14% (wt/vol) baobab fruit pulp and 7% (wt/vol) sugar in cow milk. The pH of probiotic mutandabota was pH 3.5, which ensures that the product is microbiologically safe. The viable plate count of L. rhamnosus yoba increased from 5.8 ± 0.3 log cfu/mL at the point of inoculation to 8.8 ± 0.4 log cfu/mL at the moment of consumption, thereby meeting the criterion to have a viable count of the probiotic bacterium in excess of 6 log cfu/mL of a product. Baobab fruit pulp at 4% promoted growth of L. rhamnosus yoba with a maximal specific growth rate (μmax) of 0.6 ± 0.2/h at 30°C. The developed technology, though specific for this particular product, has potential to be applied for the delivery of probiotics through a variety of indigenous foods in different regions of the world. Upon consumption, probiotic mutandabota is expected to improve the population's intestinal health, which is especially relevant for vulnerable target groups such as children and elderly people.

Keywords: Lactobacillus rhamnosus; baobab fruit; milk; probiotic mutandabota.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adansonia / chemistry*
  • Dairy Products / analysis*
  • Fermentation
  • Food Analysis
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Functional Food / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus / chemistry*
  • Probiotics / chemistry*
  • Zimbabwe