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The pulp of Detarium microcarpum fruit was obtained and was analyzed for the proximate,  mineral and anti-nutrient composition using standard methods. Crude protein content obtained in D. microcarpum fruit was 18% while the crude fat content was 14%. The fruit also contained 16% moisture, 6.2% ash, 16% crude fibre and 24% total carbohydrates. The mineral composition of the fruit pulp showed that zinc was the most abundant (43 mg/kg) and phosphorous was the least abundant (8 mg/kg). The anti-nutrient compositions of D. microcarpum were phytate (36 mg/100 g), hydrocyanic acid (16 mg/100 g), tannin (5 mg/100 g), oxalate (38 mg/100 g), saponin (22 mg/100 g), nitrate (16 mg/100 g), alkaloids (24 mg/100 g), flavonoids (6.2 mg/100 g), phenols (1.3 mg/100 g). D. microcarpum fruit is a good source of carbohydrates, fibre  and minerals and could also contribute to the daily requirements of protein and fats. The anti-nutrient contents of the fruit pulp are lower than established toxic levels.


1.0              INTRODUCTION

1.1              BACKGROUND OF STUDY

Detarium microcarpum is a local common plant often left when a farmland is cleared and left to fallow. It is a plant genus of the family Fabaceae (Legume family). Detarium microcarpum is widely distributed in semi-arid sub- Saharan Africa which include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo (Sadik 1991). 

Detarium microcarpum fruit is edible and rich in vitamin C, the leaves and seeds are boiled and the extract is used for treating ailments, also the roots, stem bark and stems are used to treat ailments like meningitis, tuberculosis, itches and diarrhea (Eromosele et al., 1994). The seed coat of the fruit has also been shown to possess antimicrobial activity due to the presence of steroidal saponins and flavonoids (Ebi and Afieroho, 2011). The stem bark has been shown to contain heavy metals at concentration levels higher than tolerable limits (Ehianeta et al., 2013). Also, Wahedi and David (2013) reported that Detarium microcarpum fruit pulp, when included in the diet of rats had effect on haematological parameters and body weight of rats.

Many food crops also contain natural chemical substances known to have effects on the nutritional status of food. Some of these natural occurring toxicants are anti-nutrients such as cyanogenic glycosides, phytates, oxalates lectin, saponins, alkaloids, chymotrypsin inhibitors, etc. Chronic exposure to these natural sub­stances through intake of foods rich in them may lead to the problem of toxicity (Conn, 1979; Nartey, 1980; Rosling, 1987).

Tannins are polycyclic hydrocarbons found in high amounts in tea leaves and spinach. They inhibit the absorption of iron probably by forming water insoluble iron-tannin complexes. Oxalates inhibit the absorption of iron and calcium by forming insoluble and calcium complexes. Thus, the presence of phytates, tannins and oxalates in plant foods make iron and calcium unavailable. Hydrogen cyanide does not occur free but in combination with sugars to form nontoxic compounds known as cyanogenic glycolsides. Hydrogen cyanide is known to inhibit the respiratory chain at cytochrome oxidase level. The lethal dose for hydrogen cyanide in man is 50-60 mg/kg body weight. Saponins are steroids or triterpenoid glycosides which are characterized by their bitter astringent taste, foaming properties and their effect on red blood cells (Osagie and Effiong, 1998).

The determination of nutritional value of food is fundamental to theoretical and applied investigations in nutrition. This is often the basis of establishing the nutritional value and overall acceptance of the food from the consumer’s stand point (Wilson, 1979).

1.2              STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

In most developing countries, food shortage is becoming evident as a result of population growth, competition for fertile land and poverty. The diet of many rural and urban dwellers is deficient in protein and high in carbohydrate, the implication is high incidence of malnutrition and increased dietary disease, a situation in which children and lactating women are most vulnerable (Sadik 1991). While every measure is being taken by various levels of government to boost food production by conventional agriculture, a lot of interest is currently being focused on the possibilities of exploiting the vast number of less familiar plant resource of the wild (Anwhange et al., 2004; Abdullahi & Abdullahi, 2005).

Many wild plants like Detarium microcarpum have been identified but lack of data on their chemical composition has limited the prospects of their utilization (Baumer, 1995). Many reports on some lesser known seeds and fruits indicate that they could be good sources of nutrients for both man and livestock (Elemo et al., 2002). This research project tends to determine the nutritional and anti-nutritional composition of Detarium microcarpum.

1.3              JUSTIFICATION

 In Nigeria there is inadequate supply of grains, grain by-products, oil-seed cakes and other agro-industrial inputs to sustain small and medium scale poultry production. There is need to explore and provide information on many non-conventional feed ingredients that abound in our environment, with a view of ascertaining their suitability in human diets. The search for cheaper source of nutrients in Nigeria and many developing countries will continue as long as the local or traditional fruits, seeds are not considered. One of such cheap and locally available fruits is Detarium microcarpum fruits which is believed to have both anti-nutritional and nutritional content. (Anhwange, et al. 2004). This research project tends to study the nutritional and anti-nutritional composition of Detarium microcarpum fruits.

1.4              AIM AND OBJECTIVES

Aim: To determine the nutritional and anti-nutritional composition of Detarium microcarpum


•      To determine the proximate composition of Detarium microcarpum.

•      To determine the mineral elements of Detarium microcarpum.

•      To determine the anti-nutritional composition of Detarium microcarpum.

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