The Microorganism Isolated From The Fermented African Oil Bean Seed (UGBA)

Project and Seminar Material for Microbiology

The Microorganism Isolated From The Fermented African Oil Bean Seed (UGBA)


Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

Ugba also called ukpaka is a popular food delicacy in Nigeria especially among Ibo ethnic group. It is rich in protein and is obtained by a solid state fermentation of the seed of African oil bean tree (Pentaclethra macrophyllaBenth). It is essential food item from various traditional ceremonies where it is mixed with slices of boiled stock fish (ugba and okpoloko). The natural fermentation of the seed which at present is still done at the house-hold level, renders the production nutritious, palatable and non-toxic (Enujiugha, 2002).

Its production, like many African fermented foods depends, entirely on mixed fermentation by microorganism from diverse source.

Some of these seeds have been exploited as soup bases such as Gbegiri from Vigna unguicuata (Akanbi, 1992). Others are fermented and used as condiments and seasonings such as okpei from Prosopis africana (Achi, 1992) and ogiri from Ricinus cummunis (Odunka, 1989). Another of such seeds is the African oil bean seed (Pentaclethra macrophylla Benth), a highly nutritious leguminous crop seed abundant in the rain forest areas of west and central Africa.

Pentaclethra macrophylla Benth is a large woody plant abundant in the rain forest areas of west and central Africa. It’s origin in Nigeria is believed to be around 1937 (Ladipo, 1984); where it is found in the South Nigeria, (Mbajunwa et al, 1998).

“Ugba” Pentaclethra macrophylla Benth belongs to the Family Leguminosae and sub-family microsoideae (Keay, 1989 and NFTA, 1995).

Ugba seeds are irregular and oval, they are flat, black and hard pods. It is composed of oil, protein and small amounts of carbohydrate (Obeta, 1982).

Production of Ugba is still on age old traditional family in the rural area. The fermentation depends on random inoculation of boiled slices of the oil bean seed by microorganism within he immediate environment. Earlier report attribute the sources of the micro-organism to the leaves used in packaging, human handling, container and utensils used in processing (Obeta, 1993, Odunfa & Oyeyiola, 1985).

A number of researches have been carried out to know what causes this fermentation, and was attributed to micro-organisms that are probably introduced through the air, water, and banana leaves. Organisms such asMicrococus roseus, Micrococcus luteus, Leuconostoc mesenteroides,Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Bacillus substilis,Bacillus megaterium and Bacillus circclans, E-Coli

Fermented African oil bean seed (ugba), has a high rate of susceptibility to microbial spoilage and therefore has a very short self life of 1-2 weeks (Enujiugha & Olajundoye, 2001).

Manifestation of food spoilage are many and vary typically resulting in an off smell, colour, taste and texture.

Reports by Mbajunwa (1998) Obeta, (1983) and Nwagu et al. (2010) indicates that micrococcus species do not play an active role during microbial fermentation of Ugba.

However, further work on spoilage association of ugba by Nwagu et al(2010) showed that the population of Micrococcus sp increased with increase in keeping time of ugba. This indicates the ability of micrococcus to thrive in the alkalophilic environment while constituting as a spoilage organism of ugba. This may be attributed to the ability of microorganism to produce amylase, lipase, or protease able to utilize protein, carbohydrate or lipid content of ugba as source of nutrition (Njoku et al., 1990).

Amylases are enzymes that breakdown starch or glycogen. The amylases can be derived from several sources such as plants, animals and microbes. The major advantage of using microorganisms for production of amylase is in economical bulk production capacity and microbes are also easy to manipulate to obtain enzymes of desired characteristics


1.1 Aims and Objectives

This work is aimed at the following;

  1. Isolating micrococcus from fermented ugba
  2. Producing amylase from the micrococcus from ugba

Chapter Five


Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendations

The fermentation of “ugba” cubes is an innovation aimed at adding value to the existing conventional method of produce, slice and consume. This old method of eating the ugba immediately after fermentation, makes the product unacceptable to people of other cultures. When ugba is preserved in cubes as bouillion, people from other cultures will be able to assess it and derive its high nutritional potentials. This way the product will be available at off-seasons.

In this study, fermentation of the cotyledon led to the softening of the cotyledon and a drastic disappearance of other microbial species except Bacillus species which was up to 9.60 x 104cfu/g. Addition of preservatives brought about drastic reduction of microbes during storage at different storage conditions. According to Fawole and Osho (2002), the use of preservatives on food may be microbiocidal and kill the target organism or they may be microbiostatic and simply prevent them from growing, thus improving the shelf life of the product. This could be the reason behind the drastic reduction in the total bacterial count of ugba cubes treated with 0.5% sodium benzoate. The results of the proximate analysis showed an increase for carbohydrates,ash and fibre, but a decrease in protein and fat content. This decrease could be due to heat treatmentwhich led to protein denaturation and melting of fats. The proximate composition of the unfermented ugba is similar to the results of Enujiugha and Akanbi (2002) where the results for crude protein, carbohydrate, lipid, crude fibre and ash contents were
22.32% 19.16%, 53.98%, 2.13% and 2.40% respectively. There was also a decrease in moisture content from 4.37% after fermentation to 2.36% moisture after oven during. At this temperature microbes rarely survive. Toxicological composition of fermented and unfermented ugba shows a decrease in soluble oxalades. The tannins and phytate contents of fermented ugba samples, increases significantly. This could be due to browning reaction caused by some enzymatic activities in the product.

In conclusion, the results and discussion of this research suggests that seeds of the African Oil bean (Pentaclethra macrophylla) tree could be fermented, milledand formed into seasoning cubes. This will increase the availability and acceptability of ugba for use in confectionaries and fortification of foods. It could also be suggested that chemical preservatives together with drying could be used to improve the keeping quality of ugba cubes. However, drying at a lower temperature (about 500C) may yield a more nutritious product, with less damage on the protein content.As reported by Ohiri and Bassey (2017), fermentation of ugba improved its flavor and reduced the lipid content to a healthy level. The aroma of fermented ugba, as deduced by Nwokolo, and Ugwuanyi (2015) is due to the presence of methyl esters of various long chain fatty acids. This claim was upheld with sensory evaluation. It is therefore recommended that fermentation of ugba using Bacillus subtillisbroth culture should be adopted as it helps in the improvement of the nutritional microbiological and toxicological quality of the product.


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