Second Level Classification
3.1 Agriculture, forestry and fisheries
The primary objective of the project was to develop value-added, shelf-stable processed products of palm shoot Dictyosperma album in view of their production in a local processing plant. The study had been designed in three stages, each with defined objectives.
1.1 Stage One: CHARACTERISATION OF THE PHYSICAL, CHEMICAL AND SENSORY PROPERTIES OF PALM SHOOT
This first stage of the project aimed at evaluating the physical, chemical and sensory characteristics of palm shoot Dictyosperma album grown locally. This included evaluation of the colour, texture and taste, physical measurements, quantification of the edible/non-edible ratio, determination of pH, Brix, titratable acidity, moisture content, ash content, ascorbic acid, crude fibre and crude protein, and inhibition of browning reactions.
1.2 STAGE Two: PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND SHELF LIFE STUDIES
The main objective of this stage was initially to develop pickled and canned products from palm shoot. However, canning was, at later stage, rejected. This decision was taken by members of the research team, the Groupement Palmiste, and the Mauritius Chamber of Agriculture after considering the low volume of imports of canned palm shoot, its limited market and its high projected unit cost price.
Pickling was therefore the method retained for product development. This involved formulation trials, sensory evaluation, microbiological analysis and physicochemical analysis. Furthermore, shelf life testing was also carried out to assess the keeping quality of the products both in terms of their safety and organoleptic quality.
1.3 STAGE Three: PROCESSING LINE ACCEPTABILITY OF PRODUCTS The final stage of the project aimed at assessing the acceptability of the new product by conducting a consumer-oriented sensory evaluation survey. The production requirements in terms of processing steps and quality control would also be finalised.