Evaluation Of Calcium In Cheese For Recommended Dietary Allowance

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Evaluation Of Calcium In Cheese For Recommended Dietary Allowance


Cheese, a popular food across many cultures has been subject of many studies. It’s of many variants, providing huge nutritional value to humans. One of those many nutrients is calcium. Calcium helps the body in building bone structures amongst other important functions. In this study, we aimed at determining the proportion of calcium content in cheese. Thus, recommending a daily intake of cheese for Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for calcium. Samples of Cheese were collected from five zones in the Lagos environs. Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) and Titrimetric methods were used for determining the calcium content.

The two methods used in this analysis have showed to be appropriate for the determination of calcium in cheese. From the results, the calcium contents inn local cheese (Wara) determined in the experiment ate within the permissible and allowable limit of Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAS) by the World Health Organization (WHO). Thus, a recommended daily intake of local cheese for Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for calcium was given in Table 4.2. This recommendation conforms to that of the standard dietary allowance of calcium in the body.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Cheese is one of the numerous products from the processing of milk (Scott, 1986). It is produced in a wide range of flavors, textures, and forms by coagulation of the milk protein casein (Omotosho, O.E., Oboh, G. and Iweala, E.E.J., 2011). It comprises of proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep. Approximately, one third of the world’s milk production is used for cheese manufacturing to conserve the most desirable milk components such as casein, fat, calcium and phosphorus (Kashtanova, 2010).

Cheese remains practically the only dairy product made from raw milk. Raw-milk cheeses are of a prime importance for local economies and consumers appreciate their large diversities in characteristics and taste. Indigenous microflora of raw milk leads to significant differences in the proteolysis and fermentation products and is mainly responsible for the typical sensory characteristics of raw-milk cheeses (Ylva, A and Anna, P, 1999).

Fresh milk is considered as a perfect food owing to its nutrition, diversity of flavors and texture, and good taste (Fox and Kelly, 2006). Hundreds of types of cheese from various countries are produced. Their styles, textures and flavors depend on the origin of the milk (including the animal’s diet), whether they have been pasteurized, the butterfat content, the bacteria and mold, the processing, and aging. Herbs, spices, or wood smoke may be used as flavoring agents. The yellow to red color of many cheeses, such as Red Leicester, is produced by adding annatto. Other ingredients may be added to some cheeses, such as black pepper, garlic, chives or cranberries. Cheese making may have originated from nomadic herdsmen who stored milk in vessels made from the sheep’s and goats’ stomachs. Because their stomach linings contain a mix of lactic acid, wild bacteria as milk contaminants and rennet, the milk would ferment and coagulate (O’Connor, 1993).

West African soft cheese (Wara) is an excellent source of protein, fats and minerals such as calcium, iron and phosphorus, vitamins and essential amino acids, thus making it an important food in the diet of both old and young. Wara is made from milk which contains various micro-flora and lactobacillus species which makes it susceptible to spoilage within a short period of time. Traditionally, it is preserved in its whey which last barely a day or two. Wara is traditionally produced using latex extracts of the leaves of Calotropis procera (Omotosho et al., 2011).

Cheese making in Africa is not properly documented and it is largely dictated by tradition. However, production of cheese in African countries has increased and about one-third of the volume of milk is used for cheese (Food and Agricultural Organization, 2002). The clotting property of milk is important in both the quality and yield of cheese.There is a widespread of Wara in Nigeria. Wara is eaten in various forms such as raw cheese, flavored snack, sandwich filling or fried cake. Wara is usually manufactures from coagulants obtained from the juice Calotropis procera (Sodom Apple leaves) (Omotosho et al., 2011).

Cheese contains a host of nutrients like calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin B12. Calcium is one of the nutrients most likely to be lacking in the human diet. According to government statistics, nine out of 10 women and six out of 10 men fall short of calcium recommendations. The high-quality protein in cheese provides the body with essential building blocks for strong muscles. Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body, is found in some foods, added to others, available as a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines (such as antacids). Calcium is required for vascular contraction and vasodilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, intracellular signaling and hormonal secretion, though less than 1% of total body calcium is needed to support these critical metabolic functions(Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, 2010).

Calcium is a mineral that is an essential part of bones and teeth. The heart, nerves, and blood-clotting systems also need calcium to work.Calcium is used for treatment and prevention of low calcium levels and resulting bone conditions including osteoporosis (weak bones due to low bone density) (Watts, 2010), rickets (a condition in children involving softening of the bones), and Osteomalacia (a softening of bones involving pain). Calcium is also used for premenstrual syndrome (PMS), leg cramps in pregnancy, high blood pressure in pregnancy (pre-eclampsia), and reducing the risk of colon and rectal cancers. Some people use calcium for complications after intestinal bypass surgery, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Lyme disease, to reduce high fluoride levels in children, and to reduce high lead levels (Sunderrajan S and Bauer JH, 1987)

Calcium carbonate is used as an antacid for “heartburn”. Calcium carbonate and calcium acetate are also used for reducing phosphate levels in people with kidney disease. It is not farfetched to study the nutritional composition of cheese – Wara– due to its abundance usage in and nutritional values, specifically, the calcium content. This will help in determining the appropriate composition and preparation of local cheese. It will also aid medical experts in prescribing local cheese as calcium supplements in rural communities and help in determining the recommended daily intake of cheese for appropriate calcium content. (Dibba B1, Prentice A, Ceesay M, Stirling DM, Cole TJ, Poskitt EM., 2000).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Wara, a locally made cheese contains nutrients of various types such as zinc, magnesium, calcium, Iron etc. Wara is a major food that provides calcium in humongous value. It’s of paramount importance to determine calcium content in Wara in order to monitor the recommended daily intake for infants and adults.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

This study aims to determine:

  1. The proportion of calcium content in local cheese (Wara).
  2. The recommended daily intake of calcium in cheese.

1.4 Significance of Study

At the end of the study, the research will:

  1. Help medical experts in prescribing cheese as a local substitute to modern calcium supplement in rural areas.
  2. Help dietitians in diets to treat or help to manage condition like Osteomalacia.

1.5 Scope and Limitation of Study

This study focuses on the determination of calcium content in cheese using two different methods:

  1. Titrimetry;
  2. Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS).

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