Amonyeze Ahunna Onyinyechi, Aremu Kehinde Oludayo*, Onwuchekwa Amarachi Ihedinachi, Nduka Onyeka Chukwuebuka, Ojotule Ojonimi and Okafor Gabriel Ifeanyi
The paper entails the design and fabrication of manually operated Okazi (Gnetum africanum) leaf slicing machine. Slicing of Okazi leaf is one of the most significant and yet energy demanding post-harvest operations in Okazi leaf processing. Unlike other leafy vegetables, Okazi has a thick paper- like leaf which is usually very difficult to cut due its fibrous nature. The developed machine consists of four mechanisms i.e., the crank with length of 80 mm, the follower, sliding lever with 140 mm and the cutting blade which was tested with 60% slicing efficiency and was confirmed working. The machine was designed to enhance the hygienic slicing of Okazi leaf materials to prevent knife related injuries for both commercial and domestic use. The constructed machine was evaluated through physicochemical studies using 50% hand slices of Okazi and 50% machine slices of Okazi leaf from different locations. The moisture, ash, fat, crude fibre and carbohydrate contents ranged from 13.0-13.05, 19.00-18.96, 5.38-5.35, 6.68-6.77, 7.39-7.37 and 48.59-48.64 respectively. There were no significant (p>0.05) differences between the hand and machine slices of Okazi leaf which indicates that slice thickness has no implication on the nutritional status of the vegetable.
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