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Malted versus roasted weaning mixes: development, storage, acceptability, and growth trials

Tara Gopaldas. Department of Foods and Nutrition, Maharaja Sayajrao University of Baroda, Baroda, India

Formulations and standardization
Proximate composition
Viscosity measurements of a 10 per cent cold-paste slurry solution of various WBG formulations
Storage trials
Cost of formulations
Acceptability trials in Baroda
Acceptability trials in Pondicherry
Rat growth and protein quality trials
Prospects and problems


The virtues of malting
Balanced nutrition


Both roasted and malted powdered multimixes were prepared from wheat and Bengal gram (chick-pea) in the proportions 4:1 and 8:1 (WB); from wheat, Bengal gram, and groundnut at 4: 1: 1 and 8: 1: 1 (WBG); from ragi and green gram at 4: 1 (RG); and from ragi, green gram and groundnut at 4: 1: 1 (RGG). Conditions for steeping, germinating, roasting, and milling were established. The proximate composition including moisture, ash. fibre, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates were determined for the most nutrient rich (4: 1: 1) wheat-based and ragi-based roasted and malted mixes. The viscosity of roasted and malted, WGB (4: 1: 1) in 10 per cent slurry solution was 5 and 9 centipoise units respectively. Storage trials for roasted and malted, WBG (4:1:1) indicated that the roasted and melted mixes had a shelf life of 28 and 14 days respectively based on standards of the Indian Standards Institute for moisture, free sugar. alcoholic acidity, peroxide value, and bacterial plate count for powder mixes. The cost of roasted and malted, WGB (4: 1: 1) in 1980 was Rs 3.00 and 3.20 per kilogram; the cost of roasted and malted, RGG (4: 1: 1) was Rs-3.36 and 4.17 per kilogram (exclusive of overhead and other costs). Organoleptic trials among college students did not show statistical preference for roasted or malted when WGB (4: 1: 1) was tested. However, Baroda (balwadi) children (three to four years of age) in acceptability trials based on mean intake per sitting over six days, showed a significantly higher intake for melted (83.7 2.49 9) than for roasted (67.9 1.23 9). Non-incorporation of oilseed decreased mean intake to 75.6 2.44 9. Similar acceptability trials in de-wormed Pondicherry balwadi children (two to five years of age) established significantly higher intake for malted. RGG (4: 1: 1) at 120.60 34.70 9 over roasted, RGG (102.40 18.80 9), growth and protein quality trials on rats established the superiority of malted, RGG (4: 1: 1) followed by melted WBG (4: 1: 1) over roasted counterpart mixes for each of the parameters of food efficiency ratio, protein efficiency ratio, serum protein, hepatic protein, and haemoglobin. Studies undertaken so far indicate the high acceptability, palatability, and intake of melted mixes in the young children population, and good growth-promoting qualities in the rat. Short shelf life, however, is a negative factor

There is a high and specific regional preference for multimixes whether they are roasted or malted.


The search is on for low-cost weaning and young toddler foods that would combine at least some of the desired characteristics of high nutrient density, low bulk properties, utilization of low-cost and widely used cereals, pulses and oilseeds, and traditional processing methods that have the potential of being easily adopted at the home or village level (Desikachar 1980; Chandrashekhara 1980; Narasinga Rao 1977; Gopaldas et al. 1974; Devadas et al. 1974; Reddy 1973; Swaminathan et al. 1973; Swaminathan et al. 1972; Rajalakshmi 1970; Korula et al. 1961).

There is recent evidence (Desikachar 1980) to show that malted ready-to-eat mixes have an overriding advantage over processing methods such as flaking, puffing, parboiling, or roasting in that malting greatly reduces the viscosity of the product thereby leading to increased nutrient or calorie-dense food per unit volume ingested. Young toddlers who have a severe bulk intake constraint are able to consume relatively more of a malted food product at a sitting. An added advantage of malting is that starch is partially pre-digested to dextrins which would help a weanling infant to adjust more easily from a lactose-based milk diet to a starch-based cereal diet.

Very little work is cited in the literature on enhancement of nutrients or reduction in anti-nutritional factors as a result of the final malting process. However, several workers have reported the beneficial effects of germination (intermediate step in malting) in cereals and/or legumes such as increase in thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin levels (Burkholder 1943); folic acid (Babu 1976); ascorbic acid (Patwardhan 1962); iron (NIN 1978); amylase and diastase activity (Jaya and Venkataraman 1980); protease activity (Jain and Date 1975); digestibility (Subbulakshmi et al. 1976); protein efficiency ratio and biological value (Chandrashekhar and Jayalakshmi 1978). Besides decreases have been recorded in phytate (Mandal et al. 1972) and in trypsin activity of haemagglutinin (Subbulakshmi et al. 1976).

Roasting, which is a simpler and more commonly used household and village-level technology, pre-cooks the ingredients used in cereal-legume-oilseed multimixes and increases shelf life and acceptability (Gopaldas et al. 1975). Siegel and Fawcett (1976) have reported that it improves the flavour, texture, and nutritive value of the grains. Studies conducted by Liener (1973) report that most anti-nutritional or toxic effects of legumes such as trypsin inhibitor, haemagglutinin, goitrogenic agents, cyanogenic glucosides, alkaloids, and saponin were eliminated partially or wholly on roasting.

The present paper attempts to give the highlights of a series of studies, undertaken in the Foods and Nutrition Department of the Maharaja Sayajrao University which have helped to shed more light on comparative aspects of roasted and malted foods with respect to their formulation, ease of processing, cost, proximate composition, selected physicochemical characteristics that have a bearing on nutrient intake capacity, storage trials, human acceptability trials, and growth trials. A great deal more needs to be done and many gaps in our own series of experiments need to be filled and knowledge updated.

Since there was a distinct regional preference for the staple wheat (Triticum aestivum), Bengal gram (chick-pea, Cicer arietinum), and groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), most of our work pertains to formulations made from these three food commodities. However, we did work on ragi (Eleusine coracana), green gram (Phaseolus aureus Roxb), and groundnut formulations also, but our human acceptability trials in Baroda clearly showed that ragi-based formulations were quite unacceptable to adult and child subjects.

Pertinent data from four M. Sc. dissertations, (Inamdar 1980; Fotedar 1981; Tajuddin 1981; Master 1981) have been brought together in this paper to throw more light on the positive and negative points of malted and roasted mixes having identical formulations. Individual papers on aspects discussed in this paper are in the process of being published.

Formulations and standardization

Formulations incorporated low cost and widely used cereals, pulses, and oilseeds in Gujarat. The ragigreen gram formulation with and without oilseeds was also included as the pioneering work of Malleshi and Desikachar (1979) indicated its superior nutritive value in weaning foods.

The proportions of cereal to pulse or of cereal to pulse to oilseed (v/v) were kept simple, as the ultimate purpose was to transfer the technology to the household and village level. Formulations with a fairly wide cereal-to-pulse ratio of 8:1 were also included as (a) this is roughly the ratio of staple to legumes consumed in the low-income groups, and (b) it has been cited in the literature that the growth-promoting effect of cereal and pulse in the ratio of 4:1 or 8:1 was not found to be markedly different for the weanling rat (Rajalakshmi and Nalini 1966). If this could be substantiated in the human child it would help to reduce the formulation cost. The inclusion of oilseeds was to have a more nutrient-dense formulation; their omission was to reduce cost. Table 1 shows the formulations that were developed.

TABLE 1. Weaning Formulations Studied


Proportions (v/v)






Wheat-Bengal gram (-groundnut)        










Ragi-green gram (-groundnut)        











Malted Multimixes

The main steps in malting are steeping, germination, roasting and milling. Each step was standardized on the basis of organoleptic acceptance, particularly for taste, by a trained panel of six members.

  1. Steeping. All seeds gave best results when soaked in an equal volume of water at room temperature (25 - 30 C) for 12 hours. The relative humidity was 71 + 12 %. Our steeping conditions are in line with those reported by Patel (1957) who studied the most practical household methods for steeping and germination of the common cereals and pulses consumed in Gujarat.
  2. Germination. Wrapping the seeds in damp muslin cloth for germination at room temperature, and arresting germination at 24 hours in the case of groundnut and 48 hours in the case of wheat and Bengal gram was found to be the most acceptable organoleptically .
  3. Roasting and milling. Roasting was done in an electric oven at 110C 3C. Groundnuts required 8-10 minutes, wheat and ragi 10-15 minutes, and Bengal gram and green gram 20-25 minutes. The entire malted grains (seed + vegetative part) was milled in the proportions stated in a Kissan Grindmaster (up to 1 kg quantity) or in a regular electric mill for larger quantities. The milled flour was sieved four or five times through a 50 mesh BSS sieve. The loss in residue was about 15 per cent for wheat and ragi, 15 per cent for Bengal gram, or green gram, and about 10 per cent for groundnut. In the case of simple roasted mixtures, only the roasting process followed by milling and sieving was utilized.


Production Problems of Macro Quantities

Producing enough malted or roasted supplements (about 125 9 per serving) for 30 children for seven days at a time in the laboratory presented problems of non-availability of suitable utensils and space, and highlighted the need to fabricate simple trays for uniform steeping and germination, and simple temperature-controlled roasters to produce approximately 200 kg of mix per batch. In a typical village situation 90 kg of multimix per week would be required to feed 100 infants/toddlers per averaged-sized Indian village (total population of 1,000).

Proximate composition

The proximate composition of the most nutrient-rich wheat-Bengal gram-groundnut (WBG) and ragigreen gram-groundnut (RGG) formulations (4: 1:1) is presented in table 2. Heat processing either by malting or roasting did result in appreciable loss in ash and fat as compared to the raw mixes. However, energy and protein levels were well within the accepted range of 12-14 9 for protein and 350 kcal or more per 100 9 of formulation for supplementary feeding.

TABLE 2. Proximate Composition of Malted and Roasted WBG and RGG Formulationa

Formulation (g/100 g) Moisture Ash Fibre Fat Protein Carbohydrate
WBG -4 :1:1b
Malted 18.36 0.69 2.27 7.34 14.35 56.99
(24) (- 44) (43) (- 30) (5) (- 2)
Roasted 17.54 0.57 1.98 8.27 14.24 57.4
(18) (- 54) (24) (- 21) (4) (- 1)
RGG -4 :1:1b
Malted 16.67 1.75 2.52 8.67 13.27 57.12
(20) (- 42) (- 3) (- 9) (7) (- 2)
Roasted 17.78 2.14 2.89 7.97 12.56 56.66
(28) (- 29) (12) (- 16) (1) (- 3)

a. WBG = wheat, Bengal gram, and groundout; RGG = ragi, green gram, and groundnut.
b. Figures in parentheses show percentage changes from the analysed values of raw mix.

Viscosity measurements of a 10 per cent cold-paste slurry solution of various WBG formulations

Viscosities of a 10 per cent cold-paste slurry of the various malted and roasted formulations of WBG determined in a Brookfield's viscometer (LVF model no. 50) are represented in table 3. The most striking feature of this experiment was the significantly lowered viscosity readings of malted formulations vis--vis their roasted counterparts. Our findings support those of Malleshi and Desikachar (1979) reported for malted versus unmalted ragi: green gram (70:3) in a 10 per cent hot-paste slurry solution. The decrease in viscosity of our malted formulations with only a slight increase in volume as compared to simple roasted counterparts, clearly suggests that malted formulations with low bulk and high caloric density can be more easily consumed by toddlers than their roasted counterpart formulations. As described later, this was borne out also by acceptability and intake trials among Baroda balwadi (children's centre) children.

TABLE 3. Viscosity Measurements of a 10 Per Cent Slurry Solution of WBGa Malted and Roasted Formulationb


Volume gm/ml

Viscosity Cp units

Form of mix


Slurry 10 %

Slurry conc. 10 %

































  1. WBG = wheat, Bengal gram, and groundnut.
  2. Measured in a Brookfield's Viscometer (LVF model no, 50).

Storage trials

Since the WBG formulation was most relevant to Gujarat, the keeping quality of the most nutrient rich formulations of WBG (4:1 :1) was studied over 28 days' duration at room temperature. One hundred grams of each ready-to-eat mix (malted or roasted) were packed and sealed in polyethylene packets of 200 gauge (7 cm x 10 cm). Packets were drawn for analysis at 0, 7, 14, 21, and 28 days. The samples were analysed for moisture (AOAC 1960), reducing sugar (Hawk 1965), alcoholic acidity (ISI 1957), peroxide value (AOAC 1975), and bacterial contamination (Mackie and McCartney 1956). The results of this study presented in table 4, show that the moisture content of the malted WBG was almost double that of the roasted WBG on the twenty-eighth day. The maximum limit for moisture content irrespective of season has been laid down as 14 per cent (PFA 1977). The malted WBG was acceptable up to the fourteenth day; the roasted was well within specifications of the Indian Standards Institute (ISI) throughout the trial. The free sugar level was about three times as high for the malted WBG as for the roasted on the twenty-eighth day. There are no ISI standards for acceptable shelf-life. However, the saccharifying effect of malting could be considered a plus rather than a negative point for a weaning mixture. The alcoholic acidity level of the malted WBG was more than twice that of the roasted on the twenty-eighth day.

TABLE 4. Storage Trials for Different Malted and Roasted Formulations of WBG (4 :1:1)

Storage period (days) Moisture (%) Free sugar (%) Alcoholic acidity (%) Peroxide value m moles per kg fat Bacterio logical examination
0 malted 10.44 12.01 0.083 3.0 16,000
roasted 7.08 2.18 0.043 2.1 1,250
7 malted 12.14 12.24 0.083 7.2 20,500
roasted 7 52 2.74 0.048 3.8 28,000
14 malted 13.98 12.63 0.093 11.1 41,500
roasted 7 62 3.13 0.055 4.5 36,000
21 malted 14.65 13.08 0.121 14.8 *
roasted 8.10 3.67 0.060 5.2 43,000
28 malted 14.78 13.12 0.141 183 *
roasted 8.38 4.11 0.063 5.8 53,000
PFA values 14.00 ** 0.120 10.0 50,000***

* Innumerable colonies.
*' No standards
*** 151 standard.

The specification of the Indian Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA) as well as of the Indian Standards Institution is 0.10 to 0.12 per cent. Hence, the malted WBG was acceptable until about the twenty-first day, while the roasted WBG was well within ISI/PFA limits. The peroxide value for M-WBG was over three times that of R-WBG on the twenty-eighth day. The PFA standard is 10 millimoles/kg fat. According to this stipulation M-WBG was acceptable only for seven days, while R-WBG was well within the limits even on the twenty-eighth day. The bacteriological plate count for malted was within ISI specification (1973) of 50,000 for 14 days; it was 14 days for the roasted. It was, therefore, concluded that the malted had essentially a shelf-life of seven days and roasted of 28 days. Our data (not presented here) indicates that when oilseeds were omitted from the malted WBG (4: 1 :0) formulation, the shelf-life could be stretched to 14 days.

Cost of formulations

The cost of the WBG (4:1:1) formulation per kilogram of ready-to-eat mix in 1979 was Rs 3.20 for the malted and Rs 3.00 for the roasted. It was slightly higher in 1980; Rs 3.40 per kg for malted and Rs 3.20 per kg for the roasted. Corresponding costs for the RGG (4:1 :1) in 1980 were Rs-4.17 for the malted and Rs-3.76 per kg for the roasted. Even if one doubles the ingredient cost to include overhead, packaging, logistical, and other related costs, the M-WBG or M-RGG would still be far below the cost of commercial formulations such as Farex (Rs 40 per kg) or Bal-Amul (Rs 34 per kg) or Nestum (Rs 16 per kg). A product test conducted on WBG (4:1:1) among railway worker families indicated that they were prepared to pay as much as Rs 4.00 per kg, or 50 paise per 125 9 packet.

Acceptability trials in Baroda

Acceptability was evaluated by (1) organoleptic trials among adults (Amerine et al. 1965), and (2) feeding acceptability trials among balwadi children (Grewal et al. 1974).

1. Organoleptic or sensory evaluation. The Triangle Test followed by the Score Card Technique were used. The first test was to select a discriminating panel who could detect two identical samples out of a triangle of three samples. Ten college students were thus selected for the Score Card Test. The formulations were scored on a seven-point hedonic scale. For minimum acceptance, a formulation had to obtain a minimum of 60 per cent of the maximum score in each characteristic of taste, appearance, texture, aroma, and after-taste, as well as on the overall score. The test was conducted thrice to arrive at consistent results. The results are presented in table 5. It can be seen that there was no significant difference in acceptability between the malted and roasted formulations for WBG (4: 1:1). However, of the malted and roasted formulations for WB (8:1), the malted was significantly preferred to the roasted for taste and aroma; the roasted was significantly preferred to the malted for texture.

2. Acceptability trials among balwadi children (three to four years). Acceptability was evaluated by three criteria: minimum intake of RTE per sitting; request for second helpings; and extent of plate waste and/or spillage.

TABLE 5. Acceptability Trials in Baroda on WBG Formulations by College Studentsa

Ratio Taste Appearance Texture Aroma After- taste Total scores Maximum scores
4:1:1 241.0 180.74 110.56 110.36 5016 69 105
4:1:1 23076 170.64 120.49 100.33 50.17 67 105
"t" value 0.79 1.04 1.34 2.04 0    
8:1:0 190.61 170.71 130.56 8023 40.18 61 105
8:1:0 160.37 160.65 160.38 40.26 40.12 56 105
"t" value 4.20b 1.03 4.43b 11.52 0    

a. Values are mean + SE. b. Significantly different at P = .05.

TABLE 6. Acceptability Trials in Baroda on Formulations of WBG by Balwadi Children (three-four years)a

Ratio Mean consumption (gm) Paired
"t" value
Malted RTEs Simple roasted RTEs
4:1:1 83.7 2.49 67.9 1.23 5.95b
8:1:1 81.2 4.73 62.8 1.33 9.01b
4:1:0 75.6 2.44 59.2 1.49 7.24
8:1:0 75.6 2.00 56.8 1.95 8.64b

a. Values are mean + SE. b. P = .05.

Twenty-seven balwadi children participated in this 24-day trial with each formulation being tested for three days consecutively in random order. Each child was offered an initial serving of 100 9 formulation of WBG (either 4:1:1 or 8: 1:1) or WB (4: 1 or 8:1). Each formulation was sweetened with 25 per cent by weight of jaggery. Each child was offered an initial serving of 100 9 formulation. A second helping of 25 9 was served if requested. Records were maintained per child subject. The results of mean intake of malted and roasted of each formulation are represented in table 6. It is clearly seen that for any formulation, the paired " t" test established that malted formulations were significantly preferred to roasted formulations. The maximum mean intake was on M-WBG (4: 1:1) at 83.7 2.49 9 and the least was on WBG (8: 1 :0) at 56.8 1.95 9 Non-incorporation of oilseed significantly reduced intake, most probably due to lessened palatability.

Acceptability trials in pondicherry

Preliminary trials conducted on foundling home and low-income group children (two to five years) in Baroda established that RGG formulations were rejected. Consequently, an inter-comparison of acceptability between malted and roasted formulations of WBG and RGG could not be carried out at Baroda. RGG formulations, on the other hand, were found to be highly acceptable in Pondicherry, where ragi is the staple. This clearly highlighted the regional preference for specific cereals and pulses. An acceptability feeding trial was planned among 18 dewormed balwadi children (two to five years of age) for 14 days. Children were randomly assigned into two groups. Both the malted and roasted RGG (4:1:1) were tested by all child subjects for seven days each. The criteria developed for acceptability were:

  1. The child should consume at least 75 9 out of a 100 9 serving of formulation, at one sitting, in one hour.
  2. The formulation should not cause any ill-effects like diarrhoea or vomiting.
  3. This amount should be consumed in addition to their home diet.
  4. Attendance should be at least 75 per cent of the total period of testing.

The results of the study are presented in table 7. The set of criteria were satisfied for both roasted and malted mixes. It was clearly established that acceptability (as assessed by mean intake) was significantly more for malted RGG.

TABLE 7. Acceptability Trials in Pondicherry on Formulations of RGG on Balwadi Children (two-five years)

Type of mix

Mean daily consumption (gm)


"t" valuea

Malted RTE mix




Roasted RTE mix



  1. Paired "t" test
  2. Significant (P = .05).

Rat growth and protein quality trials

Eight formulations, four of malted and roasted WBG (4:1:0, 4: 1:1) and four malted and roasted RGG (4:1:0, 4:1:1 ) were evaluated against a 10 per cent casein control diet. Seventy-two weanling albino rats of Wistar strain were divided into nine groups of eight each. The parameters to evaluate growth and protein quality were (a) food efficiency ratio (FER) defined as amount of formulation required to bring about 1 9 weight increase in the animal in 28 days; (b) the protein efficiency ratio defined as the weight gain per 9 protein casein; (c) total serum protein and albumin/globulin ratio; (d) liver protein; (e) haemoglobin levels. The consolidated results are presented in table 8. At a glance it is seen that the protein quality of casein cannot be matched by either malted or roasted formulations of WBG or RGG. However, between malted and roasted formulations, the malted formulations score much higher than the roasted counterparts, for each and every parameter studied. Within malted RGG and malted WBG, malted RGG was found to be superior. Within the malted WBG formulations, WB (4:1) was actually found to be superior to WBG (4:1:1), thereby indicating that incorporation of oilseed did not exert any beneficial effect with respect to growth or improvement in the protein status of the rat.

TABLE 8. Evaluation of Growth Promoting and Protein Quality of Malteda and Roastedb Multimixes on Ratsc

  FERd PERe Total serum protein g/dl A/G Ratio Liver protein 9/100 g Haemoglobin g/dl
Casein 2.9 3.38 0.190 7.34 0.293 1.42 0.084 12.29 0.194 12.15 0.495
R-WB 15.9 0.63 0.137 5.55 0.183 0.86 0.078 6.05 0.262 8.57 0.475
M-WB 5.0 2.02 0.183 6.21 0.214 1.59 0.082 7.52 0.270 11.12 0.615
R-WBG 19.2 0.53 0.102 5.52 0.114 1.46 0.101 6.58 0.217 9.49 0.507
M-WBG 6.0 1.64 0.181 5.50 0.196 1.16 0.065 8.23 0.246 9.66 0.229
R-RG 4.6 2.14 0.180 5.77 0.513 1.29 0.079 8.51 0.150 10.02 0.446
M-RG 4.5 2.20 0.113 6.73 0.462 1.55 0.107 9.53 0.262 10.24 0.276
R-RGG 4.7 2.03 0.341 6.63 0.192 1.52 0.073 10.06 0.414 10.08 0.390
M-RGG 4.7 2.07 0.130 6.91 0.196 1.63 0.110 11.19 0.220 10.79 0.227

a. M = Malted.
b. R = Roasted.
c. Values are mean S.E.
d. Food efficiency ratio.
e. Protein efficiency ratio.

Prospects and problems

Our studies, thus far, have established the superiority of malted cereal-pulse-oilseed formulations, whether they be WBG or RGG over their roasted counterparts. However, regional preferences for staples and pulses will have a very definite influence on the future development of malted multimixes. The proximate composition of the most nutrient rich formulations of malted or roasted WBG or RGG (4:1:1) or even those that omit oilseed, reveal that they are within the acceptable limits of 350 kcal and 10-12 g protein per 100 g of food supplement. Acceptability trials among young balwadi children have further established the significant superiority of the regionally preferred malted formulations over their roasted counterparts. Per sitting intake levels play a crucial part in bridging if not completely filling recommended daily allowance requirements of the infant and the young toddler and hence any village-level technology that supports this important aspect needs to be favoured. The ingredient cost for either malted or roasted could be considered to be reasonable at about Rs 3.00-Rs 4.17 per kg in 1980. Even if one doubles this cost for overheads, packaging, logistics, and other related costs, it would still work out to be one of the most economical weaning mixes in the present day Indian market. Our rat growth and protein quality trials on malted and roasted formulations of WBG and RGG again favour the malted formulations whether they be with or without oilseeds. Although long-term growth trials have yet to be conducted on WBG (4:1:1), some indication of the benefits of malted mixes for the very young child are available from earlier studies conducted in the department. Gujral (1968) conducted a eight month growth trial on Baroda children one to three years, wherein a simple malted gruel of wheat and green gram (1:1 by weight) was offered at the level of 60 g per day. In addition, a spoonful of vitamin A enriched oil at the level of 3 g per day was offered per child. The results indicated improvements in the anthropometric, clinical, biochemical, and radiological status of the conjee-supplemented children. However, no comparative growth data on a roasted conjee of similar formulation was available.

In sum, the pioneering work of Korula et al. (1961), followed by the recent in-depth studies of Desikachar (1980), the infant and young toddler feeding trials of Swaminathan (1980), and our own clearly indicate the tremendous potential of malted cereal: pulse: oilseed multimixes in the Indian context; particularly as germination of cereals and legume grains is a universal and traditional practice in our land.

Although the prospects for malted multimixes are bright, yet, there are two major stumbling blocks which must be overcome before one can consider the malting process as an appropriate village-level technology. The first concerns its poor shelf-life; especially so when oilseeds are incorporated. The second concerns the rather lengthy and laborious steps in processing, namely, steeping, germination, roasting, and milling. An average village home is not likely to have the space (for drying the germinated cereals, pulses, and oilseeds) or the stensils. Even simple roasted multimixes were not made by the majority of Madhya Pradesh rural mothers (Gopaldas et al. 1975). Hence, even if one overcomes the keepability problem by omitting oilseeds in the formulation, yet, one will have to decide where? how? in what manner? by whom? and at what cost? these malted multimixes can be produced on a scale to feed at least 100 (0-3 year-old children) day-in and day-out in an average Indian village (total population of 1,000). Common sense suggests that it would have to be a centrally operated village, block, or district facility. There is, therefore, an urgent need to develop simple inexpensive equipment for steeping, germination, roasting, and milling for at least a village-level operation.

In conclusion, we see more prospects than problems with malted multimixes. Studies are planned or are in progress in the department to evaluate the acceptability of WBG and WB formulations with sesame seed among geriatrics; to determine its rehabilitative properties in the local Nutrition Rehabilitation Unit of SSG Hospital, Baroda; and to study its enhanced nutritional properties, if any, on fermentation, and with and without the incorporation of green leafy vegetables.


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The virtues of malting

Except in regard to vitamin C, melted and toasted food mixes were distinctly superior to just the roasted products in rat-feeding experiments, but studies with children and old people were called for. The extraordinary reduction in viscosity brought about by malting could be achieved simply by adding just 3 per cent of barley malt to the mix. This was true even for commercial weaning foods. Extensive feeding trials have shown that whereas two to three-year-olds find it very difficult to consume 75 grams of commercial weaning foods even when made into a thick pudding, they have no difficulty getting the equivalent nutrients from calorie-dense malted products. Malting triggers off several dormant enzymes; thus lipase is activated and will hydrolyse fat, leading to a bitter taste. The shelf-life of these malted products, especially those based on rice is poor. Incorporation of oilseeds in the mix is found to increase palatability even for the toddler, though for very young children aged three months or so, their use is best avoided for reasons of digestibility. Oilseeds like the sesame are valuable in furnishing essential amino acids like methionine. When using roasted mixes, viscosity problems do not arise for foods like shaped laddus which reduce the bulk of the serving.

Balanced nutrition

Integrated strategies must be planned for each region to match dietary needs and the pattern of malnutrition prevalent. Ideally, inputs of the kind that will hold prices constant would stabilize buying by the people, but prices do fluctuate, even though subsidies to the extent of Rs 3,200 million are now spent annually. Other models need to be developed to achieve price and buying stability. The paper on policies seems to have overlooked the matter of distribution, which, in effect, must cope with the vast question of unemployment. The four-E test for any policy pattern is a good one: employment-generation, economic feasibility, ecological soundness, and energy conservation, if the poor are to be reached.

It is surprising to realize that when calorie intakes are considered, the mean-plus-one standard deviation is no different whether for the United States or for Bangladesh. The poor nutrition in the latter country is less a matter of food per se as of recurrent episodes of infection, with no time between bouts to recuperate. What we need to know is not the frequency distribution of food, but that of need: at present, 70 per cent of the variation in food intake is not known, nor is the threshold need. Policy planning is essential and goes far beyond food per se. To give one example, availability of timely credit markedly affects agricultural production, and is thus a nutrition factor.

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