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The seed of locust beans (Parkiabiglobosa) plant found growing in the Savannah Africa provides one of the popular seasonings in African diet. The nutritious and delicious food spice is popularly called “ogiri” in Igbo, “iru” in Yoruba and “dawadawa” in Hausa in Nigeria. It is heavily consumed in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierre Leone and Togo (Odunfa, 1985). It serves as source of protein for most of the people whose protein intake is low due to high cost of animal protein sources.
The African locust bean tree, Parkiabiglobosa are perennial trees legumes which belongs to the sub-family mimosoideae and family leguminosae (now family fabaceae). They grow in the Savannah region of West Africa up to the southern edge of the Sahel zone 13°N (Campbell-Platte, 1980). The plant occurs in a wide range of Natural Savannah woodlands and ithas the capacity to withstand drought conditions because of its deep tap root system (Nwadiaroet al., 2015). A matured locust bean tree (20-30years) can bear about a ton and above harvested fruits. From experience, the tree can start to bear fruits from 5-7 years after planting (Musa, 1991). The African locust bean tree grows to about 20m in height and has bark evergreen pinnate leaves. Its fruit is a brown leathery pod of about 10-30cm long and contains gummy pulps of an agreeable sweet taste, in which lie a number of seeds. It is important indigenous multipurpose fruit tree. Parkiabiglobosa tree plays vital ecological roles in recycling of nutrients from deep soil, by holding soil particles to prevent soil erosion with the aid of its roots. It also provides shade where it is found (Campbell-Platte, 1980). This tree is protected by peasant farmers and rural dwellers for its many benefits. Its wood is a source of fuel energy. It helps to enrich the soils nutrient.
The most important use of African locust bean is found in its seed which is a legume, although it has other food and non-food uses especially the seeds which serve as a source of useful ingredients for consumption (Campbell-Platte, 1980). It has been reported that the locust bean is rich protein, carbohydrate, soluble sugars and ascorbic acid. The cotyledon is very nutritious, has less fibre and ash content. The oil content is suitable for consumption since it contains very low acid and iodine contents. The oil has very high saponification and hence would be useful in the soap industry (Alabiet al., 2005). It has also been reported that the husks and pods are good for livestock (Douglass, 1996; Obiazoba, 1998). The locust bean tree is also important in medicinal practices in treatment of aliments such as bronchitis, pneumonia, malaria, diarrhoea and as poison for sore eyes (Farombi, 2003).
Although microorganisms of all groups including bacteria, protozoa, algae, viruses, fungi together with insects and rodents play significant role in food deterioration, the most active and more versatile organisms that affect locust bean seeds and its products causing spoilage when stored are species of bacteria and fungi (Omafuvbeet al., 2000). They can occur on growing crops as well as harvested commodities leading to damage ranging from rancidity, odour and flavour changes and germ layer destruction (Cutler, 1991). In a study to identify the bacterial and fungal flora of deteriorated and maggot infested samples of fermented locust bean seeds, the isolated fungal species were identified as Aspergillusniger, Aspergillusflavus, Penicillium, Rhizopus and Candidaspecies. Parkiabiglobosa seeds are subject to degradation induced by diverse organisms including fungi which are among the most active microorganisms in these processes (Popoola and Akueshi, 1985). Microorganisms associated with fermented locust bean seeds have been widely studied (Odunfa, 1981; Ikenebomehet al., 1986; Odunfa and Oyewole, 1986; Ogbadu and Okagbue, 1988). Bacilli and Staphylococci were observed to dominate the fermentation together with a number of fungal species causing deterioration of this especially in storage in Northern Nigeria.
This study is aimed at DETECTING THE FUNGI SPECIES INVOLVED IN PARKIABIGLOBOSA SPOILAGE.
1.2 SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES
To isolate and identify fungi associated with locust beans (Parkiabiglobosa).
To determine the pH, moisture content and titratable acidity of locust beans.
For centuries, P. biglobosa tree has been an integral part of life in Northern Ghana. Each and every part of the tree (bark, leaves, root, seed, wood and fruit) serves a certain purpose. Most drugs locally produced are more expensive than imported ones. Patients tend to buy cheap drugs because they cannot afford to buy quality and expensive ones. The need therefore, for other potential sources of cheaper pharmaceutical excipients cannot be over emphasized. Due to limited supply and consequent increase in cost of traditional excipients a search for other lesser known naturally occurring excipients with the desired pharmaceutical properties is essential.
The evaluation of P. biglobosa fruit pulp as a possible raw material to be used as an excipient in solid pharmaceutical dosage forms will add to further studies on the fruit pulp and encourage cultivation and utilization in the pharmaceutical industry.
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