Don seeks use of local fruits to produce wines comparable to imported ones

*Says measure’ll generate foreign exchange for Nigeria

By Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin

A Professor of Industrial and Food Microbiology, Kwara state University (KWASU), Malete, Sunday Awe, has recommended the use of locally available fruits to produce wines that are comparable lo imported ones.

Professor Awe, who stated this while delivering the 11th Inaugural Lecture of the University, said Nigeria would be able to save, and also earn, substantial foreign exchange by producing wines locally for export, instead of importing wines.

He added: “Nigeria is blessed
with sugar-rich fruits in different locations around the country all
the year round; the nutrients that
are revenue yielding can be harnessed and made available all year round. The country also has the potential to join the league of wine production if we make deliberate effort to maximise the potential of many fruits available in our nation.

“Fruit wines were successfully produced from banana, cashew, pawpaw and pineapple, sweet potatoes, date palm fruits and tomatoes using mostly locally available materials. The wine produced compared
favourably with imported wine: (Red wine Carlo Rossi, vinted
and bottled by Carol Rossi Vineyards, California U.S.A) in terms of toxicological effects, nutritive quality, microbiological quality, acceptability with the Cashew wine having a higher Vitamin C content than the Red wine.”

“In view of the toxicological effect of alcohol, it is recommended that the alcohol in the wine be distilled off and used for other non-consumptive purpose.

“The nutrients that are otherwise lost due to lack of facility
to store fruits can also be harnessed by turning it to wine.

“To maximise the benefits of local production of the fruit wine, it is recommended that the fruit wine is produced during its season, since the fruits are usually seasonal, and
in regions of fruit abundance.

“It is recommended that sorghum grains should be used as
natural substrate for the production of anthocyanin under a five-day solid state fermentation using Pantoea dispersal strain LMG 2603 as a means of increasing the yield of anthocyanin and will help in solving the problem of anthocyanin deficiency.”

The Inaugural Lecturer, however, expressed the need for proper washing of fruits and vegetables, using salt water to avoid microbial and parasitic infections before
consumption, adding that
further research should be carried out to “measure the antioxidant activity of anthocyanin, exploration of the anti-cancer effect of anthocyanin and the purification of
the produced anthocyanin”.

According to him, use of solar disinfection and storage of water in containers for a period of time would help in purification of drinking water and also help to fight against water bore diseases.


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