Drowsiness, Pearl millet, Hausa koko, Tryptophan
Hausa koko is a soft spicy millet porridge commonly consumed in Ghana. The beverage has been postulated to cause drowsiness which may be attributed to the tryptophan available in the pearl millet used in the preparation. Knowledge of this effect may significantly impact consumers’ lives and as such, a scientific evidence to support this claim is necessary. This study aimed at estimating the quantity of tryptophan in a given amount of Hausa koko and to relate the amount present to the ability of Hausa koko to induce drowsiness. A survey was conducted on the possibility of Hausa koko causing drowsiness. The presence of tryptophan in both pearl millet powder and Hausa koko was established using the Hopkin Cole’s reaction. The protein content of the pearl millet powder and Hausa Koko were determined using the Kjeldahl’s digestion and distillation apparatuses. The quantity of tryptophan was determined from the protein content and the amount of tryptophan in Hausa koko estimated with reference to literature values. A protein content of 7.61%±0.07 and 2.2%±0.02 were obtained for pearl millet and Hausa koko respectively. A 100g of Hausa koko was found to contain 0.27g of tryptophan and by extrapolation, the amount of tryptophan in 500ml of Hausa koko was 1.73g. The estimated tryptophan in Hausa koko is within a range (1g–15g) that induces drowsiness.
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