Research Article
Development and Sensory Evaluation of Spirulina Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Abdel Ghaly*, Amal Hammouda and Mariam Al Hattab
Corresponding Author: Professor A. E. Ghaly, Department of Process Engineering and Applied Science, Faculty of Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; Tel:902-494-6014; Email: abdel.ghaly@dal.ca
Received: April 26, 2015; Revised: May 12, 2015; Accepted: May 9, 2015
Citation: Ghaly A, Hammouda A & Al Hattab M (2015) Development and Sensory Evaluation of Spirulina Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies. International Journal of Bioprocess and Biotechnological Advancements, 1(2): 63-73
Copyrights: ©2015 Ghaly A, Hammouda A & Al Hattab M. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Spirulina is very rich in protein, omega 3 and omega 6 oils, vitamin and mineral and its incorporation into cookies will enrich their nutritional values. However, adding spirulina to cookies may affect their smell, color, appearance, texture and taste. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the acceptability of spirulina added chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and to assess the effect of the amount of added spirulina on the sensory evaluation parameters (odor, color, texture, taste and shred) using a panel of 10 members. The results showed that all the baked samples had a noticeable smell. The majority of the panel members described the smell of the cookies as pleasant cookies smell, sweet-yeast smell, musty-seawater smell and fishy-seawater smell for the cookies receiving 0, 3, 6 and 9 % spirulina, respectively. Adding and/or increasing the amount of spirulina increased the vividness of the color. The panel described the color as yellow, green-yellow, blue-green and green for the cookies that received 0, 3, 6 and 9% spirulina, respectively. The color appearance seemed acceptable to the majority of the panel members. The addition of spirulina affected the easiness with which breaking a cookie was made, the fragmentation and the appearance of the break line. However, increasing the spirulina content increased the toughness of the cookies but did not affect the fragmentation or appearance of the break line. Small parts and smooth line were observed with the cookies that received no spirulina while large parts and irregular line were observed with all the cookies that received spirulina, regardless the amount of spirulina added. Adding spirulina to cookies may help maintain their integrity and reduce breakage during packaging and distributions. The addition of spirulina to the cookies affected both the texture and mouth feel. However, the amount of spirulina added to the cookies did not have any significant effect on either the texture or the mouth feel. The cookies that received no spirulina had a smooth texture and moist-smooth mouth feel whereas those received spirulina had grainy texture and dry-chewy mouth feel. The taste of the cookies that received no spirulina was rated sweet/delicious whereas the taste of the cookies that received spirulina was sweet-sour, sour-fishy and bitter-fishy for the cookies that received 3, 6 and 9% spirulina, respectively. Increasing the amount of spirulina from 3 to 9% changed the nature of the taste from pleasant (sweet) to unpleasant (bitter-fishy). The results showed that adding 3% spirulina did not affect the odor and taste of the cookies and the addition of a strong aromatic compound to musk the smell of spirulina or a flavoring agent to musk the taste of spirulina may be required with higher concentrations of spirulina.

INTRODUCTION

Algae are great sources of nutrients and natural compounds which could be used as ingredients for new foods and functional food products. They contain protein, fat, carbohydrate, minerals and vitamins (Table 1) [1-10].  Algae have a well-balanced chemical composition and can enhance the nutritional value of foods and food products [11,12]. Among the most nutritious algae species, Spirulina has the highest biomass growth and the highest protein yield (Table 2) [3,8,13,14]. For a given area, the harvest yield of Spirulina is 10 times that of soy beans, 20 times that of corn and 200 times that of beef cattle [15].Spirulina is a blue-green algae that has a great potential for use in food and food products because of its high nutritional composition (Table 3) [4,12,16,17]. The dark green color of Spirulina comes from the high amount of chlorophyll (plant blood) which is only one molecule different from the hemoglobin (human blood). No one fruit, vegetable or meat can provide all the nutrition elements the human body demands as Spirulina. Spirulina contains over 100 nutritional and bioactive compounds, free of cholesterol, has only 4 Cal/g, has a high digestibility (95%) and has an alkali pH which can protect the human body from the diseases resulting from acidic foods such as meat, sea food and cereals. The protein content in Spirulina is about 65-71% which is higher than that in the soybean and is easier to digest. Spirulina contain all the essential and non-essential amino acids (Table 4) [12,17,18] which are 3-4 times those in fish and meat and 29 times those in soybeans. Spirulina also contains more than 2000 enzymes that are beneficial for human health [12,19,20]. The fatty acids (Table 5) contain omega 6 (gamma linolenic, essential linolenic and dihomogammalinolenic) and omega 3 (alpha linolenic, decosahexaenoic, palmitoleic, oleic and euric) oils [18,21-23]. Spirulina also contain several vitamins (Table 6) including: beta-carotene or vitamin A, thiamine or vitamin B1, riboflavin or vitamin B2, niacin or vitamin B3, pyridoxine or vitamin B6, cyanocobalamin or vitamin B12, d-a tocopherol or vitamin E, biotin or vitamin H, folic acid, panthothenate and inositol [4,12,16,17,21,22]. The vitamin contents in spirulina are higher than those in liver, carrot, spinach and many vegetables [3,5,7]. Spirulina is very rich in mineral content (Table 7) including: calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, zinc, boron, copper and molybdenum [16,18]. The mineral contents in Spirulina are 28 and 58 fold of those in beef liver and spinach, respectively [8,9,10].

Because of its high content of highly valuable bioactive compounds, spirulina has been used to stimulate the immune system by enhancing the production of antibodies and cytokines and, thus, improving the resistance to infections in humans. Spirulina preparations have proved to be effective against HIV, herpes virus, cytomegalovirus, and influenza virus. Spirulina preparations are also regarded as functional products contributing to the preservation of the resident intestinal micro flora (especially lactic acid bacilli and bifid bacteria) and decreasing of Candida albicanslevel. Many of the phytonutrients in spirulina function not only as antioxidants but also as anti-inflammatory nutrients working together in synergistic fashion to provide their cardiovascular benefits. Because of this unique combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, Spirulina has several health benefits including: cardiovascular support and prevention of cardiovascular diseases, heart, kidney and liver disease, obesity, neurodegenerative disease, arthritis, allergies, prevention of breast, cervical, colon and esophageal cancers, cholesterol control and improved regulation of blood sugar [24-26].

In recent years, novel attractive healthy foods have been prepared from spirulina [11]. Traditional foods such as salad dressings, dips, puddings, gelled desserts, biscuits, cookies, bread, noodles, pasta, smoothies, ice cream and health drinkssuch as microalgal sour milk and microalgal green tea were supplemented with spirulina to add coloring and functionalattributes, making the products more sensorial attractive with health benefits due to the high content of carotenoids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds [12,27-32].

OBJECTIVES

The main aim of this study was to evaluate the acceptability of spirulina added chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. The specific objectives were: (a) to assess the effect of the amount of added spirulinaon the sensory evaluation parameters (odor, color, texture, shred and taste) and (b) to establish the most acceptable amount of spirulina that can be added to the cookies.  

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Ingredients

The following ingredients were used: 1 cup soft butter (250 ml), 1 ½ cups brown sugar (375 ml), 1 1/3 cups wheat flower (325 ml), 2 cups cooking oats (500 ml), 2 cups chocolate chips (500 ml), 3 eggs, 1 tablespoon baking soda (5 ml), ½ tablespoon salt (5 ml), ½ teaspoon vanilla and the desired amount of spirulina (0, 3, 6 and 9% by weight or 0, 15, 30 and 45 g).

Preparation of Cookies

The butter and brown sugar were placed in a large bowl and beaten until became fluffy. The eggs and vanilla were added to the butter mixture. The wheat flower, cooking oats, baking soda and salt were place in a medium bowl and mixed with the required amount of spirulina. This mixture was then added to the butter mixture in the large bowl with continuous stirring. The chocolate chips were added while stirring. The total mixture of 2000g was divided into 4 portions (500g each). No spirulina was added to the first portion (control), 15g spirulinawere added to the second portion (3%), 30g spirulina were added to the third portion (6%) and 45g spirulinawere added to the forth portion (9%).

The oven was heated to 180oC (350oF). From each portion, a teaspoon full was dropped onto lightly greased cooking sheet. Each portion made about 40 cookies. The cooking sheets were place in the oven and the cookies were baked for 15 min.

Sensory Evaluation

Sensory evaluations were carried out on the baked cookies to investigate the effect of the amount of added spirulina to the cookies on the odor, color, texture, shred and taste.  A panel of 10 evaluators was formed from among graduate students and professors in the Biological Engineering and Food Science Programs of Dalhousie University. The sensory evaluation sheets used in this study are shown in Figures 1-5.

Nutritional Value

The nutritional contents of the cookies were analyzed. The analyses include the determination of energy, protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and mineral contents. These Oder is the property of substance that activates the sensory smell.  Odor intensity is the perceived strength of odor sensation. Hedonic assessment is the process of rating on a scale ranging from extremely unpleasant to extremely pleasant. The characters of the odor are the ability to distinguish odor.

A-Please rate the samples as to the presence of odor (color intensity) and the odor hedonic tone using the following scale B- Please describe the characters of each sample by giving an appropriate descriptive term. Possible terms that might be used are given in the list below. You may use a term of your choice which you feel properly describes the odor.

Results and discussion

Odor

The odor rating is shown in Table 8. All the baked samples had a noticeable smell. The odor intensity measured on a scale of 0: 10 (0= no odor and 10= very strong odor) was 4.89, 5.06, 5.28 and 6.00 for the cookies that received 0, 3, 6 and 9 % spirulina, respectively. The results indicated that the odor intensity ranged from faint for the cookie that received no spirulina to weak for the cookies that received spirulina. Increasing the amount of spirulina from 3 to 9% (3 fold) only increased the odor intensity by 18.5 %.

The texture is the appearance, finish or consistency of a surface of a substance. It is the characteristic physical structure given to an object by the size, shape, arrangement and proportions of its parts. It could also be defined as the way that a food or drink feels in the mouth.The nature of the smell (hedonic tone) was also rated on a scale of 1:10 with a score of 1-2 considered as pleasant odor and a score of 10 considered as intolerable odor. The sensory panel rating for the hedonic tone was 4.06, 4.63, 5.78 and 6.33 for the cookies that received 0, 3, 6 and 9 % spirulina, respectively. The nature of the smell of the cookies that received 0 and 3% spirulina was pleasant while that of the cookies that revived 6 and 9% spirulina was natural. Increasing the amount of spirulina from 3 to 9% (3 fold) increased the hedonic tone by 36.7 %.

The majority of the panel members described the smell of the cookies as cookies smell, sweet-yeast smell, musty-seawater smell and fishy-seawater smell for the cookies receiving 0, 3, 6 and 9 % spirulina, respectively. The results showed that adding 3% spirulina did not affect the odor and the addition of a strong aromatic compound to musk the smell of spirulina may be required with higher concentrations of spirulina.

Sharma and Dunkwal [34] found that the addition of 10% spirulina into biscuits did not significantly alter the smell of the biscuit as compared with the biscuits without spirulina.Lemes et al. [35] noted no difference in the odor of pasta containing 5 and 10 % spirulina. Vijayarani et al. [36] found no significant differences in the odor of extruded products containing 5, 10 and 15% spirulina. Taste is the sensation of a flavor perceived in the mouth and throat on contact with a substance. The characters of the taste are the ability to distinguish flavors. The hedonic tone is the process of rating the taste on a scale ranging from nasty to delicious

A-Please rate the samples as to the characters and the hedonic tone of flavor.

 Color

The color of the baked cookies is shown in Figure 6. The color rating results are presented in Table 9. The sensory panel also described the color as yellow, green-yellow, blue-green and green for the cookies that received 0, 3, 6 and 9% spirulina, respectively. The color appearance seemed acceptable to the majority of the panel members. The intensity or saturation of the color was rated in scale of 1:10 with 1 considered dull color and 10 considered vivid color. The intensity rating of the color by the sensory panel was 3.78, 4.56, 6.22 and 7.54 for the cookies that received 0, 3, 6 and 9% spirulina, respectively. The results obtained from the sensory panel showed that adding and/or increasing the amount of spirulina increased the vividness of the color.

Salehifar et al. [37] reported that the addition of 0.5-1.5% spirulina into traditional Iranian cookies did not alter the color compared to that of the original cookies. Morsy et al. [38] reported that the addition of 2.5% spirulina did not significantly change the color of extruded products, but the addition of 5- 12.5% significantly altered the color of the product.  Lemes et al. (2012) noted that the addition of 5% spirulina to pasta did not change the color significantly from the original pasta, but the addition of 10% significantly altered the color of the pasta. Vijayarani et al. (2012) noticed slight decreases in the color rating of extruded products on the hedonic scale when the spirulina content was increased from 5 to 15% (5.0, 4.7 and 4.3 for the 5, 10 and 15%,

respectively). However, Sharma and Dunkwal [34] found that the change in the color of the biscuits due to the addition of 10% spirulina was not statistically significant.Lyer et al. [29] found that increasing the addition of spirulina from 1 g to 5 g (2-10%) in 22 Indian recipes (including biscuits), decreased the color/appearance acceptance and concluded that addition of 1.0-2.5 g (2-5%) of spirulina was acceptable. 

Shred/Break

The toughness or easiness with which breaking cookies is made, fragmentation or appearance of the broken parts and the appearance of the break line were evaluated for cookies receiving different amounts of spirulina. The shred/beak rating results are presented in Table 10. The addition of spirulina affected the easiness with which breaking a cookie was made, the fragmentation and the appearance of the break line. However, increasing the spirulina content affected the easiness with which breaking a cookie was made but did not affect the fragmentation or the appearance of the break line. The panel reported a toughness rating of soft-easy to beak, firm-easy to beak, firm-hard to break and very firm-hard to break for the cookies that received 0, 3, 6 and 9% spirulina, respectively. However, small parts and smooth line were observed with the cookies thatreceived no spirulinawhile

large parts and irregular line were observed with all the cookies that received spirulina, regardless the amount of spirulina added. The results showed that adding spirulina to cookies may help maintain their integrity and reduce breakage during packaging and distributions

Morsy et al. [38] reported that the addition of 2.5-7.5 spirulina did not significantly alter the brittleness and the firmness of the extruded products but concentrations above 7.5% significantly altered the firmness and the brittleness of the extruded products. 

Texture

The results of the texture appearance and mouth feel of the cookies are presented in Table 11. The addition of spirulina to the cookies affected both the texture and mouth feel. However, the amount of spirulina added to the cookies did not have any significant effect on either the texture or the mouth feel. The cookies that received no spirulina had a smooth texture and moist-smooth mouth feel whereas those received spirulina had grainy texture and dry-chewy mouth feel.

Lemes et al. [35] noted that there was no difference in the texture of pasta containing spirulina at concentrations of 0, 5 and 10%.  Sharma and Dunkwal [34] reported that the incorporation of 10% spirulina into biscuits did not have any significant effect on the texture.  Salehifar et al. [37] noted that the addition of 0.5-1.5% spirulina into traditional Iranian cookies did not alter the texture of the cookies. Morsy et al. [38] reported that the addition of 2.5-7.5 spirulina did not significantly alter the texture of the extruded products but concentrations above 7.5 % had a significant effect on the texture of the extruded products. Lyer et al.  [39]  found  that 

Increasing spirulina content from 1 g to 5 g (2-10%) did not significantly alter the texture of Parathas bread and biscuits. Vijayarani et al. [36] noticed slight differences in the texture of extruded products when the spirulina content was increased from 5% to 15%. However, Sharma and Dunkwal [34] found that the change in the texture of the biscuits due to the addition of 10% spirulina was not statistically significant.    

Taste

The sensation of flavor perceived in the mouth and throat on contact with pieces of cookies was evaluated by the panel. The nature of the taste or hedonic tone was also rated on a scale of 1 (nasty): 10 (delicious). The results are presented in Table 12. The addition and/or increasing the amount of spirulina affected both the taste and the hedonic tone. The taste of the cookies that received no spirulina was rated sweet/delicious with a hedonic score of 8.33 which is in the pleasant taste range of 8-9. The taste of the cookies that received spirulinawas sweet-sour, sour-fishy and bitter fishy and the hedonic tone was 7.06, 5.11 and 5.00 for the cookies that received 3, 6 and 9% spirulina, respectively. Increasing the amount of spirulina from 3 to 9% changed the nature of the taste from pleasant (sweet) to unpleasant (bitter-fishy). The results showed that adding 3% spirulina did not affect the taste and the addition of a flavoring agent to musk the taste of spirulina may be required with higher concentrations of spirulina.

Lemes et al. [35] noted differences in the taste of pasta containing 5% spirulina and the pasta containing no spirulina.  Morsy et al. [38] reported that the addition of 2.5% spirulina did not significantly alter the taste of the extruded products, but higher concentrations of 5 to 12.5% resulted in an undesirable taste. Lyer et al. [39] found that with increasing spirulina content from 1 to 5 g (2-10%) the taste of Parathas bread and biscuits changed but remained acceptable. However, Sharma andDunkwal [34] found that the addition of 10% spirulina into biscuits did not result in any significant change in the taste.

Nutritional Facts

The nutritional values are shown in Table 13. The addition of spirulina has enhanced the nutritional value of the cookies by increasing the protein, vitamin and mineral contents and adding omega 3 and omega 6 oils. Spirulina is much better source of protein (65%) than milk (4.3%), eggs (13.3%), pulses (24%) and soybean (43.2%). The beta carotene in spiruina (1900 µg/g) is much higher than that in carrots (18.9 µg/g), spinach (55.8 µg/g) and mango (27.4 µg/g). The iron content in spirulina (0.522 mg/g) is also higher than spinach (0.109 mg/g) and soy bean (0.115 mg/g).

CONCULOSION

The incorporation of spirulina into cookies will enrich their nutritional values by increasing the protein, vitamin and mineral contents and the addition of omega 3 and omega 6 oils. Spirulina is a good source of protein, beta carotene and iron. The protein content in spirulina (65%) is much higher than that in milk (4.3%), eggs (13.3%), pulses (24%) and soybean (43.2%). The beta carotene in spiruina (1900 µg/g) is much higher than that in carrots (18.9 µg/g), spinach (55.8 µg/g) and mango (27.4 µg/g). The iron content in spirulina (0.522 mg/g) is also higher than spinach (0.109 mg/g) and soy bean (0.115 mg/g). However, adding spirulina to cookies affected their smell, color, appearance, texture and taste.

All the baked samples had a noticeable smell. The odor intensity ranged from faint for the cookie that received no spirulina to weak for the cookies that received spirulina. The smell of the cookies that received 0 and 3% spirulina was pleasant while that of the cookies that revived 6 and 9% spirulina was natural. Increasing the amount of spirulina from 3 to 9% (3 fold) increased the odor intensity by 18.5 % and increased the hedonic tone by 36.7 %. The majority of the panel members described the smell of the cookies as cookies smell, sweet-yeast smell, musty-seawater smell and fishy-seawater smell for the cookies receiving 0, 3, 6 and 9 % spirulina, respectively.

The results obtained from the sensory panel showed that adding and/or increasing the amount of spirulina increased the vividness of the color. The panel described the color as yellow, green-yellow, blue-green and green for the cookies that received 0, 3, 6 and 9% spirulina, respectively. The color appearance seemed acceptable to the majority of the panel members.

The addition of spirulina affected the easiness with which breaking a cookie was made, the fragmentation and the appearance of the break line. However, increasing the spirulina content affected the easiness with which breaking a cookie was made but did not affect the fragmentation and the appearance of the break line. The toughness was reported as soft-easy to beak, firm-easy to beak, firm-hard to break and very firm-hard to break for the cookies that received 0, 3, 6 and 9% spirulina, respectively. Small parts and smooth break line were observed with the cookies that received no spirulina while large parts and irregular break line were observed with all the cookies that received spirulina, regardless the amount of spirulina added.


The addition of spirulina to the cookies affected both the texture and mouth feel. However, the amount of spirulina added to the cookies did not have any significant effect on either the texture or the mouth feel. The cookies that received no spirulina had a smooth texture and moist-smooth feel whereas those received spirulina had grainy texture and dry-chewy mouth feel.

The taste of the cookies that received no spirulina was rated sweet/delicious whereas the taste of the cookies that received spirulinawas rated sweet-sour, sour-fishy and bitter-fishy for the cookies that received 3, 6 and 9% spirulina, respectively. Increasing the amount of spirulina from 3 to 9% changed the nature of the taste from pleasant (sweet) to unpleasant (bitter-fishy).

The results showed that adding 3% spirulina did not affect the odor and taste of the cookies and the addition of a strong aromatic compound to musk the smell of spirulina or a flavoring agent to musk the taste of spirulina may be required with higher concentrations of spirulina. Adding spirulina to cookies may help maintain their integrity and reduce breakage during packaging and distributions.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The project was funded by National Science and Engineering Council (NSERC) of Canada. The support of Dalhousie University and the Egyptian Food Technology Research Institute is highly appreciated. 

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