*Nzeagwu O. C and Raphael C. O. Department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike
*Corresponding author: [email protected]
Background: Ways to alleviate hunger and poverty does not always depend on new varieties but should consider local sourcing of raw materials like watermelon seeds which are discarded after consuming the pulp.
Objectives: The study determined chemical, functional and sensory properties of melon seed flours and their blends.
Materials and methods: Watermelon seeds separated from fruit pulp were cleaned, washed, dried, dehulled mechanically, air dried, milled into flourusing locally fabricated machine and the flour stored in air tight container. Dehulled melon seeds were sorted, sun dried, milled and stored as above. Watermelon (w) and melon (m) flour were formulated into blends of 400 (70%w:30%m), 401 (30%w:70%m), 402 (50%w:50%m), 403 (100%w) and 404 (100%m) for analysis and soup for sensory evaluation by twenty panelists using 9-point hedonic scale.
Results: Carbohydrate (29.85%) of sample (30%m:70%w) was significantly higher than the other samples while protein (29.57%)of (100%m)was significantly higher. Fat(44.71%) of 402 was higher than 43.78%, 42.58%, 36.64% and 36.33% for 400, 404, 403 and 401.Sample 403 had the highest fibre (4.95%). Magnesium (20.11mg/100g), phosphorus (5.69mg/100g), potassium (4.97mg/100g), iron (14.40mg/100mg), zinc (20.74mg/100g), sodium (0.23mg/100g), manganese (21.87mg/100g),niacin (0.82mg/100g), vitamin C (0.37mg/100g) and vitamin E (0.57mg/100g)for 404 were significantly higher; calcium (0.15mg/100g) for 400 and thiamine (0.07mg/100g) of403 were higher. No significant difference (P>0.05) existed in riboflavin for all the samples. Anti-nutrients of the samples were below their lethal dosages except for tannin. Higher oil absorption capacity (4.77g/ml) and water absorption capacity (2.99g/ml) were from sample 400. Least gelation capacity (7.01w/v) of 100%w was significantly higher. Soup from404 was most accepted and 403 moderately liked in all the sensory attributes.
Conclusion: Watermelon seed flour proved an acceptable soup thickener with nutritional and functional properties that can fill food diversity and economic gaps generally.