Probiotic yogurt, comprised of a Fiti sachet containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Streptococcus thermophilus C106, has been used in the developing world, notably Africa, to alleviate malnutrition and disease. In sub-Saharan African countries, fermentation of cereals such as millet, is culturally significant. The aim of this study was to investigate the fermentation capability of millet when one gram of the Fiti sachet consortium was added. An increase of 1.8 and 1.4 log CFU/mL was observed for S. thermophilus C106 and L. rhamnosus GR-1 when grown in 8% millet in water. Single cultures of L. rhamnosus GR-1 showed the highest μmax when grown in the presence of dextrose, galactose and fructose. Single cultures of S. thermophilus C106 showed the highest μmax when grown in the presence of sucrose and lactose. All tested recipes reached viable counts of the probiotic bacteria, with counts greater than 10⁶ colony-forming units (CFU)/mL. Notably, a number of organic acids were quantified, in particular phytic acid, which was shown to decrease when fermentation time increased, thereby improving the bioavailability of specific micronutrients. Millet fermented in milk proved to be the most favorable, according to a sensory evaluation. In conclusion, this study has shown that sachets being provided to African communities to produce fermented milk, can also be used to produce fermented millet. This provides an option for when milk supplies are short, or if communities wish to utilize the nutrient-rich qualities of locally-grown millet.
Keywords: cereal; fermentation; millet; probiotic; sub-Saharan Africa; yogurt.