Four Kabarak University students have come up with a mind-blowing innovation on how to make Ugali from grass.
The innovation, which aims to convert grass into edible starch, is the mastermind of Faith Wandia, a 24-year-old Master’s student in Business Administration and Finance.
Her team comprises Bahati Innocent, Salome Njeri and Edgar Ruto. They started researching the project in 2020 and made the breakthrough in 2022.
They have already produced flour that can be used to make ugali and porrigde.
“First, we were doing trial and error. We were trying to see what would work, so you ended up using a lot of enzymes to get the correct results,” Wandia explained.
The shipping costs of raw materials was high so the four opted to convert cellulose abundant in the grass from one chemical form to another to make it safe for human consumption.
Brian Innocent said that their reason for using grass is that it grows on 50 percent to 60 percent surface areas of the earth.
“So human beings can’t digest grass because we don’t have cellulose enzymes in our galactical tract. This means we cannot break down grass which is the main thing in the grass,” he explained.
The type of grass used is Bermuda and Rye grass, which they harvest, wash to remove any contamination and dry it before grinding it to become a cellulose powder.
Enzymes are then added to help break down the cellulose into starch, which is the same in maize.
The final product must pass the iodine test to check its starch.
“When I started this project, I had some things that I had to achieve at the end. I am so excited because, with this project, we will save so many lives,” Wandia said.
Sam Oduor is the editor-in-chief at the Western Kenya Times who leverages the power of the Internet in telling stories that shape opinions.