Studies on the Use of Herbs to Preserve Meat and Milk among the Pastoral Communities of West Pokot in Kenya

Mikah Ongeri Nyaberi


The pastoral communities of West Pokot have been using herbs to preserve bothmeat and milk throughout the ages. These naturally occurring herbs are gainingpopularity as the chemical preservatives become less acceptable among consumersdue to health concerns. The purpose of this study therefore, was to determine thepreservative potential of herbs used by the pastoralists of West Pokot in thepreservation of meat, milk and their products.The study involved collection and identification of samples using a structuredquestionnaire. Water, methanol and chloroform extracts were obtained, from which,antimicrobial, antioxidant, phytochemical and toxicity tests were performed on eachof the herbs. The quality changes during preservation of milk treated with the herbOzoroa insignis Del was analyzed for Titratable acidity, pH, plate and LAB countwithin 14 Days of storage. The quality changes in meat were assessed by makingpork sausages and analyzing for total viable count (TVC), S. aureus and E. coli,TVB-N and rancidity tests over a period of 14 days. Samples were stored at both4ºC and 25ºC.The phytochemicals mostly found in the identified herbs, Ozoroa insignis Del,Senna didymobotrya Fresen Irwin and Barneby, Tamarindus indicus L and Ziziphusabyssinica include, reducing compounds, sterols and steroids, alkaloids, saponins,flavonoids and condensed tannins.Methanol and chloroform extracts of Ozoroa insignis Del and Senna didymobotryaFresen Irwin and Barneby had antimicrobial activity against E. coli and P.aeruginosa, while water and methanol extracts of Tamarindus indicus L hadantimicrobial activity against all the test microorganisms. Ziziphus abyssinicainhibited E. coli and S. aureous only. Tamarindus indica L, Ozoroa insignis Del,Senna didymobotrya Fresen Irwin and Barneby and Ziziphus abyssinica hadantioxidant capacity reducing DPPH by 86%, 88%, 92%, and 96% respectively.Milk incorporated which Ozoroa insignis Del had its Percentage acidity stabilized at2.8% and the pH stabilized at 3.8. All the herbs were unable to preserve sausagesbeyond the third day at 25ºC, while at 4ºC the sausages incorporated with theaqueous extracts of Tamarindus indica preserved for up to fifteen days. Those withthe aqueous extracts of Ziziphus abyssinica at 4ºC were able to preserve for 10 days.Tamarindus indica was a strong antimicrobial agent while Ziziphus abyssinica was astrong antioxidant. These results indicated that the herbs had the potential topreserve meat sausages.Further research on quantitative analysis of the phytochemicals needs to be done. Aproduct incorporating the related identified herbs such as Ziziphus abyssinica,Tamarindus indica and Ozoroa insignis Del, Senna didymobotrya Fresen Irwin andBarneby should be developed


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