Main Article Content
Aims: The study was conducted to determine the biochemical composition and nutritional value of Gongronema latifolium leaf locally cultivated in Mkpat Enin, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
Study Design: The study involved sampling, identification of the plant, sample preparation, analyses and results evaluation/comparison with existing data.
This vegetable is consumed generally due to its nutritional and medicinal potentials.
Place and Duration of Study: The study was carried out in the Chemistry Laboratory of Akwa Ibom State University and Ministry of Science and Technology Laboratory, Uyo. The study was conducted for six months from July 2017 to January 2018.
Methodology: Proximate analyses were done using standard analytical methods of the Association of Analytical Chemist (AOAC) 2000 edition. Micronutrients and trace metals were by spectroscopic, using atomic absorption spectrometer (ATI UNICAM, 939) Standard analytical methods. Of Association of Analytical Chemists (AOAC, 2000) were used for the determination of anti-oxidants: tannin, oxalate, cyanide and phytate.
Results: The results of the analyses obtained for Moisture content, crude protein, crude fibre and carbohydrate were: 60.91± 2.09%, 22.07 ± 0.04%, 4.96 ± 0.11% and 2.33 ± 0.09% respectively. Among the micronutrients determined were potassium, 471 ± 12.08 mg/kg; zinc, 0.397 ± 0.07 mg/kg; sodium, 143.8± 8.13 mg/kg; calcium, 130±7.45 mg/kg; magnesium, 133± 5.02 mg/kg and iron, 1142 ± 14.21 mg/kg. The calorific value determined for the leaf was 129.3±10.04 J/ kg. The highest concentration of 471 ±12.08 mg/kg was obtained for potassium, and the lowest mineral content was 0.397± 0.07 mg/kg for zinc. The concentrations of anti-nutrients were generally low with phytate having the highest value of 8.24± mg/kg. Other toxicants had the following values, lead, 0.16±0.009 mg/kg; cadmium, 0.13±0.003 mg/kg; hydrogen cyanide, 0.173±0.043 mg/kg; oxalate, 0.88 ±0.056 mg/kg; tannins, 0.11± 0.005 mg/kg. The calorific value of the leaf was determined to be 129.3± 10.04 J/ kg.
Conclusion: The results showed enhanced contents of micronutrients and protein in Utasi leaf, which are a health boost for consumers, mostly pregnant women and children. With the low levels of anti-nutrients and toxicants in Gongronema latifolium leaf, it is a potential source of food supplements and an immune booster in diets.