Ndubisi A. Aviara, Michael Y. Edward and John O. Ojediran
Brachystegia Eurycoma seed is an important food thickening agent with seed gum that has potential as binding agent in the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria. Presently, the kernel is obtained by manually dehulling the seed and the operation is not only time consuming and tasky but also wasteful. In order to overcome the above problems associated with the processing of the seed, there is the need to development a mechanical device for handling and processing the crop. The development of such device requires knowledge of the mechanical properties of the seed. To provide the needed data, investigation of the mechanical properties of the seed under different processing conditions of soaking, parboiling and roasting and moisture content levels of 8.90, 14.02, 20.90 and 26.30% (w.b) was carried out using the Testometric Universal Testing Machine (UTM). The properties studied include bioyield point, yield point, rupture point, bioyield strength, compressive strength and rupture strength, modulus of elasticity, modulus of stiffness, modulus of resilience and modulus of toughness. Results showed that all the above mechanical properties of Brachystegia Eurycoma seed decreased with increase in moisture content. Highest values of the properties were obtained from unprocessed seeds followed by parboiled seeds except for the compressive strength which was highest on unprocessed seeds and followed by soaked seeds. Roasting gave the lowest values of the properties except on modulus of stiffness at the highest moisture level and modulus of toughness that was lowest on soaked seeds. From the results obtained, it could be taken that the Brachystegia Eurycoma seeds subjected to roasting operation prior to dehulling, would require less energy to handle.