1. Diets based on ragi (Eleusine corucum) (1) were supplemented with L-lysine monohydrochloride (2) to provide 0.50 g additional lysine per day, or with lucerne leaf protein (3) to provide the same amount of lysine as 2, or with sesame flour (4) to provide the same amount of protein as 3. The effects of such supplementation on the growth and nutritional status of twenty children fed on each diet were studied in a feeding trial lasting for 6 months. Nitrogen retention and apparent digestibility of the diets were also studied at one stage during the feeding trials.
2. Supplementing ragi diets with any of the materials brought about improvement in all nutritional responses, i.e. height, weight, general nutritional status, apparent digestibility and N retention. The diet supplemented with leaf protein led to the greatest response in growth, as measured by increase in height and weight, followed by those supplemented with lysine and sesame flour in that order.
3. The apparent digestibility of the lysine-supplemented diet was lower than those of the diets supplemented with leaf protein and sesame flour.
4. The differences in N retention between the children on the three supplemented diets were not significant.
5. The most important observations were that, although lysine as a sole supplement improved the quality of ragi diets, the leaf protein was superior to it because it improved the quality and increased the content of protein in the diet, and that the sesame flour, in spite of increasing the protein content, did not provide adequate lysine.