Traditionally, the cassava mash used for gari production in Nigeria is left to ferment between 48 and 96 hours, depending on its quality. Thus, there is high variability in the sensory attributes and consumer acceptability of the gari Additionally, the fermentation process takes longer in some communities where highly sour gari is preferred, reducing the quantity of gari produced within a specific period.
The backslopped method of fermentation, where portions of the previously fermented cassava mash are added to a freshly prepared cassava mash to act as an inoculum, allows for the gradual selection of lactic acid bacteria and accelerated fermentation.
Backslopped fermentation has been used for cassava products such as fufu, lafun, and stored cassava chips gari, but little or no information is available on backslopped fermented gari (BFG) produced from freshly grated cassava roots and the consumer acceptability of the gari/eba. Consequently, Design-Expert software was used to get the mixing ratios of the fresh cassava mash (FCM) and backslopped cassava mash (BCM) to produce a laboratory-scale gari. Results showed that the optimum combinations of FCM and BCM for gari were 88 g FCM: 20 g BCM after 24 h, 90 g FCM: 20 g BCM after 48 h, 87 g FCM: 20 g BCM after 72 h, and 70 g FCM: 16 g BCM after 96 h.
The outcome of the laboratory scale gari was used for the training on the production and consumer acceptability of BFG in three different locations each in Benue (Gwei-east, Konshisha, and Makurdi LGAs), Imo (Ikeduru, Mbaitoli, and Owerri North LGAs), and Osun (Ifelodun, Olaoluwa, and Orolu LGAs) states in Nigeria. The FCM and the BCM combinations that look like the 24 h, 48 h, and 72 h fermented gari were used in Benue and Imo states. This is because these states do not like gari that is too sour. In Osun State, the combinations of the FCM and the BCM that produced gari that looks like the 48 h, 72 h, and 96 h fermented gari were used as the people in the state like a more sour gari. The control sample was produced using the traditional methods of gari production in each location.
The consumer acceptability study showed that most of the gari consumers in Benue State preferred the 72 h BFG compared to the control sample produced in each location. Gari/eba consumers in Ikeduru and Mbiatoli LGAs of Imo State preferred the 48 h BFG and the 72 h BFG compared to the control sample, respectively. In contrast, the consumers in Owerri-North preferred the control sample compared to the eba prepared from all the BFG samples. More than 55% of the gari/eba consumers in Osun State liked the control sample compared to all the BFG.
Therefore, BFG was well accepted in Benue and Imo states. Still, there is a need to increase the length of fermentation of BCM and the quantity of BCM added to FCM in producing BFG in Osun State for proper adoption and commercialization.
The NextGen Cassava Breeding project (NextGen Cassava) seeks to modernize partner cassava breeding institutions in Africa and use cutting-edge tools to deliver improved cassava varieties.