From traditional Beninese Akpan to an upgraded version

Up-scaling the traditional processing of Akpan for conquering urban consumers

Fermented foods are attracting more and more interest from scientists nowadays since they seem to promote human health. Many of these foods originate from the traditional patrimony of developing countries, particularly Africa. One example is Akpan, a Beninese fermented beverage produced from maize, sorghum or a combination of the two cereals (Sacca et al., 2012).
Maize-based Akpan is the original version of Akpan, the most known and the most preferred by consumers (Sacca, 2015). Resembling yoghurt, it is sold as street food and drunk with added sugar, milk and ice depending on consumer’s preference. But two major constraints prevent its increased sales and consumption. First, the quality of the product is not standard, due to the spontaneous fermentation applied during processing. Second, there is a post-acidification occurring during storage for distribution sometimes leading to alcoholic notes perceived by consumers (Madode, 2013).


This PhD project aims to tackle the problems mentioned above in order to upscale the production process and improve the quality of maize-based Akpan and its shelf life. This will also help to make Akpan accessible to all types of consumers when they need it.


To achieve the goal, we will develop a starter culture using the autochthonous microorganisms responsible for the fermentation in the traditional processing of Akpan, to control the fermentation step. Next, we will reduce the water content during production through drying, such that we obtain a powdered form of Akpan providing similar quality to traditional Akpan after reconstitution.


  1. Sacca, C., Adinsi, L., Anihouvi, V., Akissoe, N., Dalode, G., Mestres, C., Jacobs, A., Dlamini, N., Pallet, D., and Hounhouigan, D. J. (2012). Production, consumption, and quality attributes of Akpan–a yoghurt-like cereal product from West Africa. Food Chain 2, 207-220.
  2. Sacca, C. (2015). Evaluation des systemes techniques et amélioration du procédé et de la qualité du Akpan, une boisson fermentée produite au Bénin, Thesis.
  3. Madode, Y. (2003). Valorisation des technologies de transformation de produits vivriers: test de production et de marché pour le ‘Akpan’, une boisson fermentée à base de maïs, Thesis.