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Research Paper | June 1, 2022

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Typology and quality preference of plant leaves used for food packaging in Benin

Romaric Ouétchéhou, D. Sylvain Dabadé, A. Faouziath Sanoussi, Générose Vieira-Dalodé, Chakirou A. Toukourou, D. Joseph Hounhouigan, Paulin Azokpota

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Int. J. Biosci.20(6), 103-119, June 2022

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12692/ijb/20.6.103-119

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Abstract

Plant leaves are used to package various local foods in Benin. Vegetable packaging is a good alternative to plastic packaging in use in the country. A better knowledge of these plants and their different uses is necessary for their valorization. This study aims to identify the plant resources that are used in Benin as food packaging and to determine their preferable characteristics according to food processors and consumers. A survey was carried out considering 300 food processors and 300 consumers in ten municipalities in Benin. The leaves of 58 plant species belonging to 30 families have been identified and are used to pack 29 different types of food sold in the different markets of the survey areas. The choice of a leaf by processors and consumers is performed according to well-defined criteria. The main criteria used by processors are tear resistance (86%), food shelf life (82%) and size (69%), while consumers use organoleptic characteristics (78%) and food shelf life (51%) of the leaf. For all foods, about six major species of leaf including Musa sapientum, Tectona grandis, Thalia geniculata, Manihot esculenta, Gmelina arborea and Isoberlinia doka have the best characteristics according to processors and consumers. Before the leaves are used as food packaging, processors usually apply treatments that are supposed to improve the tear resistance of the leaves and reduce microbial contamination. Regarding the characteristics of these leaves at food artisanal scale, they are potentially good base material useful to produce leaf plates or modern food biodegradable packaging.

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Typology and quality preference of plant leaves used for food packaging in Benin

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