Significance of Millets Usage

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Significance of Millets Usage

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The pearl millet grain is small but has a proportionally larger germ than all

other cereal grains, except maize (Taylor 2004). The pearl millet grain

comprises about 8% pericarp, 17% germ (which is proportionally large)

and 75% endosperm (Serna-Saldivar & Rooney 1995). A thin waxy cutin

layer covers the surface of the pericarp. Beneath the pericarp, is a thin layer

of seed coat, and then a single aleurone layer (one-cell thick). Bran is hard

outer layer of cereals which consists of combined aleurone, pericarp and

part of germ. Generally the pericarp is thin, single layered with compact 


aleurone cells, but multilayered pericarp with loosely arranged aleurone

cells is not uncommon (Hadimani et al. 2001). The colour of pearl millet

grain is dependent on endosperm and/or the pericarp colour. The grain

colour may be ivory, cream, yellow, grey, deep grey, greyish brown, brown,

purple and purplish black (IBPGR/ICRISAT 1993). The most common

and generally available colour is slate grey. The pearly-white grains produce

creamy white flour that has advantage of competing with other cereal

Pearl millet is rightly termed as “nutricereal” as it is a good source of

energy, carbohydrate, protein, fat, ash, dietary fiber, iron and zinc. Pearl

millet is a rich source of energy (361 Kcal/100g) comparable with sorghum

(349 Kcal/100g), wheat (346 Kcal/100g), rice (345Kcal/100g) and maize

(325Kcal/100g). The carbohydrate content of pearl millet is 67.5 g/100g;

with 56 to 65% starch comprising 20 to 22% amylase and 2.6 to

2.8% free sugars mainly sucrose. It is high in fibre (1.2g/100g) and in α

amylase activity, when compared with other grains. The protein content of

pearl millet is (11.6/100g), comparable to wheat but higher than rice. It is

rich in methionine but poor in Sulphur containing amino acids. With low

prolamin fraction, pearl millet is gluten free grain and is the only grain that

retains its alkaline properties after being cooked which is ideal for people

with gluten allergy. Pearl millet is rich in fat content (5 mg/100g) with

better fat digestibility as compared to other grains. It is rich in unsaturated

fatty acids (75%) with higher content of nutritionally important n-3 fatty

acids than other cereal grains. Higher activities of lipases result in rapid

release of fatty acids, which limits its shelf life.

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