The protein quality of Nigerian traditional diets based on the African yambean (AYB) and pigeon pea (PP) were performed by in vivo and in vitro bioassays. The individual foods were processed, cooked, dried and mixed to resemble the traditional diets. Weanling male Wistar rats (45-55 g) were used for the bioassay. The rats were fed ad libitum for 35 days of which 28 days were for growth and 7 days for N-balance. All the eleven diets including casein (control) provided 1.6 g N/100 g diet. The parameters tested include PER, growth, N-balance, BV, NPU and apparent digestibility (AD). The rats fed the AYB diets, except AYB: Agidi (Ag), showed superiority in most of the parameters tested. There were significant positive correlations between PER and NPU (r = 0.925; p < 0.001); PER and AD (r = 0.908; p < 0.001); PER and body weight gain (r = 0.969; p < 0.001). The in vitro protein digestibility of the diets was significantly correlated (r = 0.80; p < 0.01) with the in vivo apparent digestibility. These parameters were used to rank the various diets. Crayfish protein was a better supplement to legume/cereal or legume starchy staple mixtures than leguminous oil seed. However, supplementation of PP: steamed corn (SC) diet with crayfish did not prove beneficial. The result showed that diets based on the African yambean, an under-exploited legume, are nutritious. The need for its reintroduction into the fare of the populace through increased production and appropriate processing technology is stressed. The results of this study can form a base for the standardization of Nigerian diets based on these legumes.
Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 01/1996; 48(4):297-309. DOI:10.1007/BF01088489